Viewers of the Emmy-winning Hulu series “The Handmaid’s Tale” have speculated that author Margaret Atwood foreshadowed modern-day events when she wrote the 1985 novel on which the show is based.
Atwood will visit central Ohio to describe her work 7 pm June 15 at the Palace Theatre, 34 W. Broad St., Columbus.
“A Conversation with Margaret Atwood” will be presented by a consortium of central Ohio libraries: Bexley Public Library, Columbus Metropolitan Library, Grandview Heights Public Library, London Public Library, Plain City Public Library, Southwest Public Libraries, Upper Arlington Public Library, Westerville Public Library and Worthington Libraries.
Atwood’s appearance was scheduled for 2020, but the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic caused it to be postponed, Bexley librarian Ben Heckman said.
“We were very excited to get her,” he said. “I think the idea for this was for central Ohio libraries to bring in some of the best authors in the country – maybe there’s some (potential library patrons) that we can get their attention with a big-name author that maybe we’re not seeing as much in the library that we’d like to. Let’s showcase how great central Ohio libraries are by coming together, bringing in a big-name author.”
Ann Fisher, host and executive producer of WOSU Public Media’s “All Sides with Ann Fisher,” will lead the conversation.
Atwood is the winner of many international literary awards, including the Booker Prize and the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Book Critics Circle.
In October 2019, she was presented with the Companion of Honor award by Queen Elizabeth II, making Atwood the third Canadian to receive the honor.
Atwood is the author of more than 50 volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction and nonfiction. Her novels by her include “The Edible Woman,” “The Robber Bride,” “The Blind Assassin,” “Oryx and Crake” and “The Year of the Flood.” She won the 2019 Booker Prize for “The Testaments,” the sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Her nonfiction book “Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth,” part of the Massey Lecture series, was made into a documentary. “The Oryx and Crake” trilogy is being adapted into an HBO series by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Darren Aronofsky.
Her work has been published in more than 40 languages. Atwood’s latest release, “Burning Questions,” is a collection of more than 50 essays on topics ranging from politics, the environment and the history of storytelling.
Heckman said Atwood’s appearance is intended to complement, rather than replace the Bexley Public Library’s annual Community Author Series. Last spring, the library featured bestselling author and Ohio native Susan Orlean in what was planned as an in-person event but was ultimately presented virtually because of the pandemic.
“We weren’t able to line up an author for spring (2022) for the Community Author Series,” Heckman said. “We knew Margaret Atwood was coming, and we were still not sure what everything was going to look like” in relation to the pandemic, Heckman said. “I think we’re going to be back on track for next spring for the community author series here in Bexley.”
Library officials are in the process of evaluating whether the Community Author Series should be in-person, virtual or hybrid when it returns in 2023, he said.
“I think the book publishers are also kind of taking a look at the move to virtual,” he said. “I think they’re trying to figure out how much going out on the road has its own kind of costs, everything associated with it, from their standpoint. We’re still working with them to try to figure it out because we want to be back in person if we’re able to be. And we are having some conversations with some new partners – maybe taking a look at some different types of authors that we would be able to bring in.”
Tickets go on sale May 1 at cbusarts.com, by calling 614-469-0939 or going to the box office at 39 E. State St. Tickets start at $25. Libraries are not point-of-sale locations.