Margaret Atwood joined the Stratford Festival Stage for Readers and Writers Week

The award-winning Canadian author, essayist, poet and activist returned to the Meighen Forum in August for a three-part series to discuss literary topics with guests on the Tom Patterson Theatre Stage.

Initially sitting down with Sam White, Founding Artistic Director of Shakespeare in Detroit and Director of this season's Wedding Band at the Stratford Festival, Atwood and White discussed creativity, impulse, artistry and life in a heartfelt and friendly conversation.

The pair talked about the importance of Shakespear in their lives; White notes that as a child of 8 years old, her mother made her read “the works of Shakespear” to steer her away from rap music, “I would hold my boombox up to my ear thinking my mom couldn’t hear it, but she could.” White joked.

Atwood discussed the hurdles she faced while wanting to become a writer and discussed how her parents were not too fond of the idea. She discussed how one teacher told her, “If you want to be a writer, you’ll need to learn how to spell,” Atwood joked that she’s thankful for spellcheck and editors nowadays.

The two shone onstage while discussing their love of writing and the connection to literature they had when they were young. White said, “If you don’t nurture young artists, their love of writing and art will fizzle out.”

Both Atwood and White discussed the importance of feminism in their work and how discussing big topics in literature is important and necessary. White talked about the importance of being open and creative: "When you create something, and you put it out there into the world, it will resonate with someone, somewhere, no matter what.”

Over the course of the discussion with White, Atwood seemed humble and openly discussed her love of the theatre, specifically Stratford and noted she’s a big fan, regularly attending shows throughout the seasons.

On day two of the three-day Readers and Writers event, Atwood sat down with the award-winning author of Bunny and 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl, Mona Awad, and Naomi Alderman, novelist, game writer and author of the award-winning novel The Power to discuss the idea of superego vs. the id and what happens when they get out of control.

This comical discussion was quite different than the initial event. The three authors discussed everything from personal experience with ghosts, how to write gothic literature without fear, and even the hit new movie Barbie.

On the final day of the Readers and Writers discussions with Atwood, the author sat down with Emma Donoghue to discuss what goes into adapting their work for TV or film and what challenges and opportunities exist in different forms of artistic writing.

The Meighen Forum brings together writers, playwrights and artists to lead conversations on the opportunities and challenges found when navigating the shifting worlds outside of a play’s representation of society. This event is said to be an annual event starting this year and will take place each summer.

Amanda Modaragamage, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Stratford Times