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Margaret Atwood, closet cartoonist

The Story

"Basically I can't draw," Atwood tells CBC's Peter Gzowski as she demonstrates a few of her cartoon characters. The writer is also a cartoonist for This Magazine. Using the pseudonym Bart Gerrard, Atwood's Kanadian Kultchur Komic deals with issues such as nationalism and sexual politics. Atwood displays her sense of humour saying she knew her cartoons were being read when she began to receive hate mail addressed to Bart Gerrard. Kanadian Kultchur Komic, spelled with Ks because it's "just one of those stupid jokes," follows the adventures of Survival Woman. Atwood, an established novelist, poet, storywriter and now cartoonist, talks about being one of the most written-about writers in Canada. "You're supposed to do one thing," she says, "if you do more than that, people get confused and want to write about you."

Medium: Television
Program: 90 Minutes Live
Broadcast Date: Jan. 12, 1978
Guests: Margaret Atwood, André Gagnon
Host: Peter Gzowski
Duration: 14:33

Did You know?

This Magazine is Canada's longest-publishing alternative journal. Originally called This Magazine is About Schools, the magazine was founded in 1966. The current version of This Magazine covers everything from Canadian politics, pop culture and the arts.

• Journalist Rick Salutin convinced his friend Margaret Atwood to join the magazine, which resulted in the Kanadian Kultchur Komic strip.

• Her pseudonym for her cartoon strips came from the initials of a 19th century political cartoonist who simply signed his name as B.G.

• The May/June 1978 issue of This Magazine included an ad for a set of 10 Survival Woman cards "ineptly drawn by Bart Gerrard."

• Atwood uses the name O.W. Toad, which is an anagram of Atwood, for the copyright of her books. It's also the domain name of her website.


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