GLAMOUR 2019 WOMAN OF THE YEAR: MARGARET ATWOOD
Other honorees include Ava DuVernay, the Women of RAICES, Charlize Theron, Yara Shahidi, Megan Rapinoe, Tory Burch, and Greta Thunberg
New York, NY––October 24, 2019––“I wouldn’t read a memoir by me!” Glamour Women of the Year and Lifetime Achievement honoree Margaret Atwood says. “I’m more interested in the story and the reader because if you’re just writing for yourself, why publish? If you’re writing for the reader, you’re actually interested in what you might evoke for the reader.” The award-winning author speaks to Dianca London Potts about her past, her work and her legacy.
“There was no electricity, no school, and no libraries, and television wasn’t there yet. We weren’t getting any radio except for Moscow shortwave, but there were lots of books. I read all the books, and then I read them all again,” Atwood says about her humble beginnings and foray into writing. She talks about growing up in Ontario in the 1950s when becoming a professional writer wasn’t considered a viable career path, and she had to self-publish her first book of poetry. Atwood refused to pick a literary lane and became a multi genre author because, “Nobody told me not to be,” she tells London Potts. “There aren’t rules that say you can’t. There’s other people––and sometimes it’s you––who make up those rules, but are those really rules?”
As the author of more than 60 works, Atwood is best known for A Handmaid's Tale, her dystopian novel where the U.S. government is overthrown by a totalitarian sect of religious radicals who strip women of their reproductive and civil rights. The novel feels prescient in the current political landscape, and saw a resurgence in popularity streaming giant Hulu adapted it into a series. In September, Atwood published The Testaments, a sequel to A Handmaid’s Tale. It was an instant best-seller. Cecile Richards, the former president of Planned Parenthood, finds continued strength in Atwood's work: “On the page and off, her voice has never been more relevant than it is today, when groups of mostly white men are voting in state legislatures and in Washington, D.C., to strip away the rights of pregnant people to make their own decisions.”
Atwood is not as pessimistic about the current state of affairs as those around her. “It’s been worse. You may not think that if you’re young, but it’s been worse for the world in terms of wars. But it hasn’t been worse in terms of the climate crisis, that’s pretty unprecedented, and it’s going to drive a lot of other things unless it’s dealt with, so I think that one hopeful thing to say is that if you’re considering voting, you have to remember that we’re not in the land of the perfect.”
Atwood’s stories about the dangers of capitalism, patriarchy and the abuse of power have encouraged countless readers to confront injustices and question the world around them, especially women. “I’m going to say something very weird. I’m going to be dead. My legacy is nothing I have any control over… You can’t control what other people think,” she says about lasting impact. Still, her novels and brave protagonists taught readers how to think for themselves, and act as a reminder of what is at stake if they allow themselves to be intimidated into silence.
The full feature, with photos by Brittany Daigle, is here
The full list of honorees can be found here.
The 2019 Women of the Year issue is on NY/LA newsstands on October 24
This year’s honorees will be celebrated on Monday, November 11 at the annual Women of the Year awards in New York City. Tickets to the awards are available at glamourwoty.com.
See the other Women of the Year features on Charlize Theron here. Greta Thunberg here. Ava DuVernay is here. Megan Rapinoe is here. Yara Shahidi is here. Check back on glamour.com for Tory Burch and the Women of RAICES on Friday, October 25.
About Glamour Women of the Year
For more than 25 years, Glamour has honored the world’s most pioneering women and
inspiring leaders at the annual Women of the Year Awards ceremony. Past Women of the Year include Hillary Rodham Clinton, Lupita Nyong'o, Chrissy Teigen, Zendaya, Lady Gaga, Misty Copeland, Serena Williams, Reese Witherspoon, Shonda Rhimes, Gloria Steinem, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and all living female winners of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Communications Associate, GQ Glamour
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