Top 5 Quotes from Margaret Atwood’s Skeggs Lecture

By Elizabeth Lehman

Margaret Atwood, the author of more than 40 volumes of poetry, children’s books, novels and non-fiction books, was the keynote speaker of a Skeggs Lecture on Saturday at the Stambaugh Auditorium. She is best known for her novels such as “The Handmaid’s Tale”, “The Robber Bride” and “The Edible Woman.” Here are a few of her most memorable quotes:

  • “If we were already inside ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ you wouldn’t be sitting here, I wouldn’t be standing here and we would not be talking about this book because it would be forbidden. And the female part of the audience would be forbidden even to read, but we aren’t there yet.”
  • “Who would have anticipated all this? Not myself at the time I was writing it. My expectations were modest. I thought of it as a book that might annoy some people, should they read it, should they read.”
  • “The details of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ don’t come from very far away and long ago. There are possibilities within every society including ours. ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ poses the question: If America were a dictatorship, what kind of dictatorship would it be? Religion used as a control and propaganda would surely be a major component.”
  • “What’s my next hope for this book? The same hope it’s always been: I hope that “The Handmaid’s Tale’ will remain between its covers, that it will not become a reality any more than it already is.”
  • “The humanities have been under funding threat recently because they’re thought not to deliver things of value, financial value, stuff that investors can make money out of. We want, apparently, genetically engineered babies in bottles and artificial intelligence and sex robots; we’re making them anyway and spending a lot of money doing so. But we aren’t so keen on fictions about those things, or the mysteries of them.”