News Release: Arts and Humanities, Events

Mar. 22,  2010

Margaret Atwood to Deliver 2010 Ellmann Lectures at Emory

News Article ImageMargaret Atwood

Renowned author Margaret Atwood will deliver the 2010 Richard Ellmann Lectures in Modern Literature at Emory University Oct. 24-26. The events are free and open to the public.

Among her many notable works are the novels "The Handmaid's Tale" (1985), "The Robber Bride" (1993), "The Blind Assassin" (2000), and "Oryx and Crake" (2003) and most recently "The Year of the Flood" (2009). In addition to her novels, she is the author of short fiction such as "Moral Disorder and Other Stories" (2006), more than a dozen books of poetry, six children's books, and works of non-fiction and edited anthologies. Beyond her distinguished literary oeuvre, Atwood also is widely noted as a campaigner for the environment and theorist of Canadian identity and culture.

Her many awards make Atwood one of the most celebrated authors of our time. She is a winner of the Booker Prize (shortlisted five times), twice a winner of the Governor General's Award, a winner of the Arthur C. Clark Award, as well as the recipient of numerous other honors.

"She's one of those rare writers who can do anything," says Joseph Skibell, novelist, associate professor of English and the director of the Ellmann Lectures." She's a marvelous storyteller - her novels are wonderfully entertaining - she's a great stylist and a true poet. Her work is shot through with a penetrating intelligence and she's also quite funny."  

Her Ellmann lecture series is titled, "In Other Worlds: SF and the Human Imagination." All the Ellmann events will be on the Emory campus in Glenn Memorial Auditorium. The first lecture, "Flying Rabbits" will be held Sunday, Oct. 24, at 4 p.m. The second lecture, "Burning Bushes," will be held Monday, Oct. 25, at 8:15 p.m. The third lecture, "Dire Cartographies," will be held Tuesday, Oct. 26, at 4 p.m. with a book reading and signing at 8:15 p.m.

In delivering the Ellmann Lectures, Atwood will join a distinguished roster of authors that has made the Ellmanns one of the leading literary lectures series in the English-speaking world. Recent Ellmann Lecturers have included Salman Rushdie (2004), Mario Vargas Llosa (2006) and Umberto Eco (2008).

Ellmann Lectures history

Emory established the biennial lectures in 1988 in honor of Richard Ellmann (1918-1987), one of the 20th century's greatest literary biographers and critics of modern Irish, English and American literature.

His many works include "Yeats: The Man and the Masks," drawing on conversations and unpublished manuscripts on the Irish poet, William Butler Yeats; the biography, "Oscar Wilde," which became the basis for the 1997 movie, "Wilde," directed by Brian Gilbert; and "Four Dubliners," a study Yeats, Wilde, James Joyce and Samuel Beckett first delivered as lectures at Emory and later at the Library of Congress.

Perhaps best known of Ellmann's works is his biography, "James Joyce," which won the National Book Award in 1960 and was called by Anthony Burgess "the greatest literary biography of the century."   

In addition to his teaching positions at Northwestern, Yale and Oxford universities, Ellmann was visiting professor at Emory from 1978 and Emory's first Robert W. Woodruff Professor starting in 1982 until his death.

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