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Read This: The Handmaid’s Tale author on how Trump is too unbelievable for fiction

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Margaret Atwood—author of The Handmaid’s Tale and dozens of other novels, short story collections, children’s books, works of poetry and criticism, and the new comic book series Angel Catbird—is the subject of a lengthy and insightful profile in The New Yorker. She speaks briefly on Donald Trump’s presidency, telling New Yorker writer Rebecca Mead, “If the election of Donald Trump were fiction… it would be too implausible to satisfy readers.” It’s an insightful viewpoint from the writer of speculative fiction (her preferred term over “science fiction”), who’s penned arguably the most influential speculation through the lens of patriarchy. Atwood goes on to say this:

Fiction has to be something that people would actually believe. If you had published it last June, everybody would have said, “That is never going to happen.”


Happily, the profile covers much more ground than just our misogynist president. Atwood discusses her research and writing of The Handmaid’s Tale, including the newspaper clipping where she got the word “handmaid”:

An Associated Press item reported on a Catholic congregation in New Jersey being taken over by a fundamentalist sect in which wives were called “handmaidens”—a word that Atwood had underlined.

The New Yorker piece is full of smart commentary from Atwood on the current political climate, feminism, and even opinions about the internet and running apps. Read the rest of the profile here.

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