Author News and Book Reports

Margaret Atwood thinks the unthinkable and takes 'the pledge'
Margaret Atwood brought her 3-month long, 7-country book tour, beginning in Edinburgh, Scotland, tweeting and blogging all the way to a grand finale at the opening night of the 2009 Miami Book Fair International, where she was greeted with a standing ovation from her legions of fans who stood on line on a Sunday night to hear her read and even sing. After introducing the main characters in her latest metaphysical masterpiece, Year Of The Flood (Nan A. Talese; September, 2009), Atwood proceeded to read passages from the dystopic novel in which we meet Toby, a woman barricaded in a spa with edible skin treatments; Ren, a young trapeze artist quarantined in the Scales and Tails sex club; and Adam One, the leader of a post-apocalyptic Christian sect called God's Gardeners, closing the reading with a singing performance of the Mole Day Children's Hymn. Taking questions from the audience, Atwood commented on winning the first Arthur C. Clarke Award for science fiction, while differentiating science fiction about aliens and other planets from speculative fiction about the collapse of civilization in the not too distant future that could actually happen. Asked about the connections between The Year of the Flood and her previous novel, Oryx and Crake, published in 2003, Atwood described the metaphysical questions arising from the previous novel which drove her to write The Year of the Flood seeking answers. The Harvard-educated Canadian author reflected on the roots of her seemingly implausible writing career; provided clues about the actual landscape on which the dystopian setting for The Year of the Flood is based; offered advice to aspiring writers; and ruminated on her other interests, including protecting migratory songbirds from insecticides used to grow commercial coffee beans, at which point Atwood demanded that everyone raise their right hand and take the pledge to drink only special organic coffee.

Book and Author Headlines

Azar Nafisi cites books of humanities and science as bedrock of democracy and freedom: Bestselling author, Iranian born Azar Nafisi tells why she became an American citizen and what it means to her in her new book 'The Republic of Imagination.'

Mary Gordon, Stuart Dybek, and Russell Banks take a short cut: Mary Gordon, Stuart Dybek, and Russell Banks read their stuff and take a few questions from the audience.

Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana have one at The Last Kind Words Saloon in Miami: Award-winning novelist and co-author Diana Ossana reflect on cowboys, women characters, and over twenty years of writing partnership.

Joyce Carol Oates reads from Lovely, Dark, Deep at the 2014 Miami Book Fair International: Prolific, award-winning author Joyce Carol Oates reads from her Pulitzer Prize nominated collection of short stories, Lovely, Dark, Deep at the Miami Book Fair.

Martin Short stirs his humor with poignancy and empowerment: Canadian-born actor, comedian, singer, producer and now author Martin Short reveals trade secrets and more in his appearance at BookExpo America.

Alan Cumming searches for answers and finds more questions: Alan Cumming tells his family story at BookExpo America 2014 about abuse, identity, and Russian roulette.

Colm Toibin introduces Nora Webster and what it is be an Irish author: Award-winning, bestelling Irish novelist Colm Toibin introduces his heroine, Norah Webster at BookExpo America 2014.

Mona Simpson, Ann Patchett, and Lucinda Franks compare notes on life, lit, and love: Bestselling, award-winning authors Mona Simpson, Ann Patchett, and Lucinda Franks take the stage at the 2014 Miami Book Fair International to talk about their most recent books and compare notes on life, literature, and love.

Maureen McLane reveals her free-ranging poetic vision in her National Book Award Finalist, This Blue: 2014 National Book Award Finalist in Poetry and 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist in Autobiography Maureen McClane reads and talks about six poems from her NBA Finalist, This Blue.

Fanny Howe makes poetry out of paradox in her 2014 National Book Award Finalist, Second Childhood: Prize-winning American poet, novelist, and short story writer Fanny Howe reads from her 2014 National Book Award Finalist in Poetry, Second Childhood.

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