The much-loved Canadian author is appearing at the Capital’s Usher Hall in support of her new book, Burning Questions: Essays and Occasional Pieces 2004-2021.
The two-time Booker Prize winner, known for her fiction such as The Handmaid’s Tale, The Blind Assassin and Alias Grace, will discuss her latest work as she fields questions from special guests and audience members.
As well as the eagerly-anticipated event at the Usher Hall on Friday 25 March, Atwood will also be appearing at London's Royal Festival Hall the previous evening.
The 82-year-old literary icon says: “It's been a wild ride so far, the 21st century. Many of the questions that have been smouldering for decades have now burst into flames. Unless we can answer them, quickly and effectively, so will we.”
One of the world’s greatest living writers, Atwood has received numerous awards for her contribution to literature, including the Arthur C Clarke Award for Imagination in Service to Society, the Franz Kafka Prize, the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade, the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award and the Dayton Literary Peace Prize.
Her last book, 2020’s Dearly, was her first work of published poetry in over a decade.
Atwood’s latest work Burning Questions: Essays and Occasional Pieces 2004-2021 offers more than 50 reflections, lectures, book introductions and literary tributes touch on everything from a zombie apocalypse to Shakespeare – all with the author’s signature insight and razor-sharp wit.
The pieces are split into sections, each marked by turning points, such as the aftermath of 9/11, the #MeToo movement, and the coronavirus pandemic.
For Atwood, perhaps the most burning questions are those concerning the climate crisis, with stark warnings peppering the collection.
A frequent visitor to the UK, in October 2019 Atwood was given a rare honour by the Queen.
As part of an investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle, she was presented with an Order of the Companions of Honour for services to literature.
Atwood said at the time she was “emotional” as she approached the Queen to receive the honour.
After the ceremony, the writer said: “I got a bit emotional. You’re really looking at a lot of history and I’m old enough to remember a lot of that history.
“Short form, she was brilliant in the war.”
Atwood added: “When you see the Queen at her age and her schedule that she puts out, it’s an inspiration to everybody, you just keep going.”
The author said she was surprised both by her second Booker Prize win and her ongoing cultural impact.
She said: “At my age, it’s not the usual thing. Usually at my age you sort of fade away and that doesn’t seem to be happening yet.”
Margaret Atwood's 2022 UK tour dates:Thursday 24 March – Royal Festival Hall, London (also available to livestream)Friday 25 March – Usher Hall, Edinburgh (tickets avaible now from the venue’s website)