Day 13 – Your favorite writer:

Margaret Atwood.

I was accidentally introduced to Margaret Atwood one Christmas when Alias Grace was in my Christmas book parcel. I found it hard to read at first, in fact, I had to stop and read something else and go back to it a couple of months later, but when I did read it, I loved from there I’ve pretty much devoured anything of hers that I can get my hands on & I've loved her ever since. The ‘A’ section of my bookshelf is pretty much taken up with her work and I’ve read most of them more than once.

Margaret Atwood made me broaden my horizons. It’s because of her that I realised that I actually quite like the dystopian future-esque fiction that I always filed under ‘sci-fi’ and steered well clear of. The Handmaid’s Tale and Oryx and Crake for example are up there with the best books I’ve read because when Margaret Atwood is writing dystopia is just the setting and she doesn’t go too far; there are no space ships and aliens from outer space. It’s not extreme. It’s just a baby step really from where we are now so it’s really easy to accept without question – that’s what I don’t like about sci-fi usually; the fact that the world and the events portrayed are just totally unrealistic. Besides that her characters are so well developed, so real and her narrative so engaging that it’s easy to forget that the world you’re reading about isn’t real….yet. You care and believe in these characters so much that somehow you find yourself believing in the whole thing and that goes not only for her ‘science fiction’ works but for everything she writes. She’s made me laugh and she’s made me cry and her writing is always thought-provoking and intelligent and inspiring. Her ability to write about human relationships is breathtaking and whilst her characters are not always likeable, they are always real and they make you question not only them but yourself and your own relationships.

I was lucky enough to meet her in August 2009 at Edinburgh Book Festival with the lovely Jen Campbell – we need to do that again please Jen, it was a nice time – where she signed my dog-eared copy of The Blind Assassin and my first edition of The Year Of The Flood and told me my name was lovely. “Josephine. Jo-se-phine. Lovely.” Ha.