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Margaret Atwood on PEN and politics

The Story

In the 1980s Atwood helped found the English chapter of PEN Canada, an international organization devoted to fighting for jailed and oppressed writers. As president of PEN, Atwood has agreed to an interview about the upcoming benefit. "It's hard to be just a writer in this day and age," Atwood tells CBC's Valerie Pringle. But Atwood seems pleased to be talking about the PEN fundraiser, which will feature readings from the Canadian literati including Robertson Davies, Timothy Findley and Alice Munro. 

Medium: Television
Program: Midday
Broadcast Date: May 6, 1985
Guest: Margaret Atwood
Host: Valerie Pringle
Duration: 4:46

Did You know?

• PEN Canada was founded in 1926 in Montreal. In 1983, an English-language chapter of PEN Canada was set up in Toronto.

• When PEN International was founded in 1921, the letters originally stood for Poets, Playwrights, Essayists and Novelists. It has since expanded to include playwrights, publishers, translators, editors and screenwriters. PEN is the only worldwide organization of writers advocating free speech.

• In 1987, Atwood compiled The CanLit Foodbook: From Pen to Palate- A Collection of Tasty Literary Fare. Part recipes, part poetry and part musings, the proceeds from the eccentric cookbook benefited PEN Canada.

• "For some reason, nobody seems to write much about lunch. I don't know the reason for this. Perhaps it's too late in the day for poets and not late enough for novelists..." -- Margaret Atwood in The Canlit Foodbook



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