About 10 or 15 years ago I read The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood. The book meant a lot to me, though I wasn’t yet ready to wake up the feminist inside myself. When I finished I felt a desperation to write a book that was as good, as imaginative. I will never forget the reading of that book, though the story has gotten lost in the years.

I’ve read other Atwood books since then – Alias Grace being my favourite, the imagining of a crime, the re-making of the woman who committed it. I studied The Handmaid’s Tale in a very interesting English class in university on culture and community. I just started Oryx and Crake, which is the first in the trilogy that Atwood was talking about at the Ottawa Writer’s Festival this week.

When I first saw her name on the schedule I thought that I would think about going, then told my sister she was coming and we both bought tickets. By the time the day come around on Tuesday I was rather excited about it. I’m a writer – I can feel a book inside me that I will get out someday – and was looking forward to some inspiration.

What I got at the reading and Q&A with CBC’s Alan Neal was a lot of humour, a lot of insight and a great look at a Canadian icon and the way she works.

I also got the chance to tell her the effect that The Edible Woman had on me, and she signed a copy of Year of the Floor, the second book in the trilogy.

The festival continues through November when I’m going to see another Q&A between Alan Neal and Ian Rankin, who I hope to understand, though I don’t know how strong his Scottish accent is.

Until then I’ll try to keep writing and thinking about being in a writers’ festival myself someday.

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