The 2008 CBC Massey Lectures, "Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth"

Legendary novelist, poet, and essayist Margaret Atwood delivers a surprising look at the topic of debt. In her wide-ranging, entertaining, and imaginative approach to the subject, Atwood proposes that debt is like air - something we take for granted until things go wrong. And then, while gasping for breath, we become very interested in it.

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Payback is not about practical debt management or high finance. Rather, it is an investigation into the idea of debt as an ancient and central motif in religion, literature, and the structure of human societies.

Margaret Atwood writes "These are not lectures about how to get out of debt; rather, they're about the debtor/creditor twinship in the broadest sense - from human sacrifice to pawnshops to revenge. In this light, what we owe and how we pay is a feature of all human societies, and profoundly shapes our shared values and our cultures."

Margaret Atwood is one of the world's pre-eminent writers - winner of the Booker Prize, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and the Governor General's Literary Award, among many other honours. She is the bestselling author of more than 35 books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, including The Handmaid's Tale, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin, and Oryx and Crake.

She is an International Vice President of PEN, which assists writers around the world in the peaceful expression of their ideas. Most recently, she is the 2008 recipient of the prestigious Prince of Asturias Award for Letters.

Listen to Part 1
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(Please note only Part 1 is available for online streaming.) 

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Books and CDs:

Payback is published by House of Anansi Press

Payback (5 CD set) Five one-hour lectures, $49.95.  Available from the CBC Shop.

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