She was charming, interesting, and the interview was fun. Audience questions were not cringe-worthy in the slightest. On the way home Kiff and I agreed that it had been a totally worthwhile event. It is rare to have the chance to see a writer speak in person.
In the days before, however, when I told people I was going to hear Atwood interviewed, I got the strangest reactions. Guys seemed to act as though it was a personal affront. Women would say: "Well, I liked Handmaid's Tale but her other stuff..." And then comes the need state where you stand as a feminist.
I mean, we laughingly embrace the tacky controversy of reality tv, but when it comes down to a contentious figure who makes us think, we back away and disassociate ourselves from them in seconds.
It made me wonder if controversial figures are ever publicly embraced (barring the sycophants and agenda-laden) in their lifetimes. What a thick skin you would require. If Atwood is exhausted with having to be this spokesperson for feminism, and just wants to be discussed as a writer.