This time last week, I was on my way to the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford, gripping my handbag in anticipation and barely able to contain my excitement. I was on my way to see Margaret Atwood give a talk about her new book Hag-Seed.
Hag-Seed was written for the Hogarth Shakespeare’s series, where authors take a Shakespeare play and writes a book based on it in a contemporary setting. This book in particular was based off of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
Having studied this play at school, my interest in the book was certainly piqued, and to have Margaret Atwood be the author was just the icing on the cake. I have actually only read two of her books previously but was thoroughly impressed by both (her writing definitely lives up to its reputation) and now have a couple of others on my shelf to read, including Hag-Seed.
This was my first time seeing Margaret Atwood talk, but I am hoping it won’t be the last. I found the entire event fascinating. Margaret Atwood is one of those authors who is very intelligent yet is able to put that across in a manner that appeals to everyone. Whenever she spoke, there was a hush around the room and her words, spoken slowly and carefully, kept the majority of the room enraptured.
As Hag-Seed had only just been released, and part of the ticket included a copy of the book, the discussion was very much aware that not everyone in the audience would have read the book, so very little about it was revealed. What they did discuss was the translation of The Tempest into a modern day settings, both in story and character, as well as Margaret Atwood’s career as a writer and some of her other projects, including the Future Library of Norway (which made me tragically realise that there would be a number of books written in my lifetime which I will never have the opportunity to read).
All in all, it was a brilliant event. The only way it could have been even better was if the person sitting in front of me, who kept moving and looking at his phone for the entire time, hadn’t been there. But, you can’t have everything.
If you are thinking of going to a book event, especially one with Margaret Atwood, I highly recommend it. They’re great fun and I’ve enjoyed each one I’ve been too.
Hag-Seed on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29245653-hag-seed
Hag-Seed on The Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/The-Hag-Seed/9781781090237/?a_aid=rosienreads (I get a small commission if you use this link)