Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso Author Margaret Atwood’s Burning Questions

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Today we are joined by legendary writer Margaret Atwood! We begin with her new collection of essays, Burning Questions (4:18), which wrestle with catastrophe (4:59), growing up in the wilderness (7:05) under egalitarian parents (10:00), and how she circumvented the traditional roles for women of the 1950s (12:20). She also shares some personal stories: her first book signing event (15:40), the day she met her late husband Graeme Gibson (17:20), and the innumerable ways in which he’d shape her life (20:11).

On the back-half we discuss the historical antecedents behind The Handmaid’s Tale (24:11), its renewed relevance amid threats to Roe v. Wade (25:43), the debate around ‘the writer as political agent’ (29:53), patriarchal gatekeeping inside the publishing industry (32:42), the limits of art-making (34:20), and why she continues to write at age 82 (39:17). 

To close, Margaret reads from both her elegiac poem Dearly (40:05) and her essay “Polonia” (45:27).

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The Host

Sam Fragoso

Sam Fragoso is a writer, director and podcast host based in Los Angeles. His interviews have appeared in Vanity Fair, The New Republic, The Atlantic and NPR. In a past…