A conversation with Margaret Atwood to kick off Québec City’s 2020 International book fair

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Le Salon international du livre de Québec (SILQ) and the Québec City Convention Centre are proud to present, as part of their Les grandes conférences series, a conversation with distinguished writer Margaret Atwood at 7 p.m. on April 14, 2020. Québec writer and novelist Marie Laberge will host this special event at the Québec City Convention Centre.

Born in Ottawa in 1939, Margaret Atwood, whose books have appeared in 45 countries, is the author of over 50 works of fiction, collections of poems and critical essays, as well as graphic novels. In addition to The Handmaid’s Tale, now an award-winning and unanimously acclaimed series, she wrote Cat’s Eye, short-listed for the prestigious Booker Prize (England), 1989; Alias Grace, which took home the Giller Prize in Canada and the Premio Mondello in Italy; The Blind Assassin, winner of the Booker Prize, 2000; Oryx and Crake, short-listed for the Man Booker Prize, 2003; The Year of the Flood; MaddAddam; and Hag-Seed. She has received the Los Angeles Times Innovator’s Award and the Peace Prize from the German Publishers and Booksellers Association.

In 2019, she was inducted into the Fellowship of Honour for her services to literature. In the same year, she and Nigeria’s Bernadine Evaristo jointly won the Booker Prize for The Testaments and Girl, Woman, Other respectively, named the best fiction of the year written in English. It was the third time that two books tied for the award since it was created 50 years ago. Margaret Atwood lives in Toronto.

The executive director of SILQ proudly announced: “The appearance of Margaret Atwood at the next Salon international du livre de Québec is a first signal of change for this event beloved by Québec City residents. This first major announcement is proof that SILQ intends to surprise, please, and expand its presence beyond the Québec City area.”

Meanwhile Pierre-Michel Bouchard, president and CEO of the Québec City Convention Centre, said: “We’re delighted whenever literature and culture take centre stage at the Québec City Convention Centre. The presence of this great writer in Québec City—the result of a new kind of partnership with Le Salon international du livre de Québec—is a milestone event that will stay with us for a long time.”

Québec City mayor Régis Labeaume also made a point of being present for the announcement. “As a UNESCO City of Literature, Québec is responsible for bringing literature to life, promoting it, and unleashing its full potential,” said mayor Labeaume. “It is an honour to be able to welcome great names in literature to our city and a unique opportunity for international dialogue. I am delighted to see the impact this designation is having on the vitality of our cultural and literary community. Québec City’s success is thanks to partners like you who make our city a lively, inspired, and inspiring literary capital.”

Marie Laberge is overjoyed to host the event. “What do I expect from this encounter? A chance to discuss, to bond, to unite our two voices to try to understand what it means to write. Without necessarily knowing where it comes from, to learn what keeps the flame to write alive. The passion, the need, and the patience that makes us write. Margaret Atwood wrote A word after a word after a word is power. That sentence alone makes me want to talk to her.”

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