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Margaret Atwood remembers being devastated by this movie but unlike many young girls of her time, she escaped its underlying message. Always sustained by a strong sense of self, Atwood would achieve a meteoric literary career. Yet a nurturing sense of self-confidence is just one fascinating side of our most famous literary figure, as examined in Rosemary Sullivan's latest biography. The Red Shoes is not a simple biography but a portrait of a complex, intriguing woman and her generation. The seventies in Canada was the decade of fierce nationalist debate, a period during which Canada's social imagination was creating a new tradition.

Suddenly everyone, from Robertson Davies to Margaret Laurence was talking, and writing, about a Canadian cultural identity. Margaret Atwood was no exception. For despite her tremendous success that transcends the literary community, catapulting into the realm of a "household name," Margaret Atwood has remained very much a private person with a public persona. Rosemary Sullivan reveals the discrepancy between Atwood's cool, acerbic, public image and the down-to-earth, straight-dealing and generous woman who actually writes the books.

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Throughout, she weaves the issues of female creativity, authority and autonomy set against the backdrop of a generation of women coming of age during one of the most radically shifting times in contemporary history. She completed her M. Sullivan has written poetry, short fiction, biography, literary criticism, reviews and articles. Critical acclaim for Shadow Maker ' "The great gift of Shadow Maker is the sense of humour and legitimacy it confers on a life that ' by mainstream standards ' must seem unimportant and even wasted.

The suspense is electrifying, and the reader's ultimate bonding to the central figure in this book is the crowning triumph of Rosemary Sullivan's skill and compassion. Shadow Maker is not a biography'it is a love affair between every one of its readers and Gwen MacEwen. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published August 23rd by Harper Perennial first published January 1st More Details Original Title.

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The Red Shoes: Margaret Atwood/Starting Out by Rosemary Sullivan (Paperback, 2000)

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Jan 02, Shane rated it really liked it. Atwood certainly exposed the myth depicted in the movie The Red Shoes from which the book gets its title that the female artist does not have to choose between writing and family, although she believes that writing, family and work can be a bit much! The book brought home to me that each generation of writers faces a unique set of challenges.

The lessons from her early life for the next generation of writers are: 1 You have to commit to your art, even if it impoverishes you. Some of the digs she lived in during her university days were pretty crappy! Although a feminist, Atwood stayed on the fringe of that movement 5 You must give in order to receive. Her dedication of time and effort to the broader development of CANLIT is admirable My only criticism of this book is that its subject is portrayed as beyond reproach and it would have been more balanced to show some of the neuroses and vulnerabilities that plagued this great writer.

The Red Shoes: Margaret Atwood Starting Out Book Summary and Study Guide

Certainly it can be argued that there is no shortage of Canadian writers and Canadian female writers today — Atwood and her cohort certainly solved that little problem. But as literary nationalism has swelled and dumped many writers on the shores of Canada and abroad, expanding this cadre like the increasing sizes of a Babushka Doll, the audiences for each book and writer have been shrinking in reverse size.

Ah, but that is a problem for the next generation of writers to solve. Or would the grand dame, step up to the plate one more time to show us how? Harper Flamingo In The Red Shoes, Rosemary Sullivan seeks to identify the circumstances that have made Margaret Atwood a phenomenally successful writer, a cultural icon, and a woman who was comfortable with her world and with herself. Then she told us it was going to be about debt. What do you know about that?

It was an instant bestseller. She is a bit clairvoyant. Over the following decades, Atwood released a steady stream of novels. After sixty years as a popular thinker, writer, and speaker, working across genres and formats, a mythology has grown around Atwood. She has been described as a trickster, a man hater, an oracle.

George Saunders: I knew she was at the Salisbury Literary Festival, and I was kind of nervous about meeting her, as a person tends to be. Then I found out that we were supposed to travel to another event together in a bus. And then I found out that the bus was just Margaret and her partner and me. And then I found out that I was hungover. And, I think, a little jet-lagged. I was really not feeling well. So I got situated in the front seat of this van, next to the driver, and Margaret and Graeme were in the back.

My mission was twofold. Those were my high-minded aspirations. And so I was sitting there, really feeling terrible, and the driver figured it out and had a bit of a mean streak, so he was kind of speeding and swerving and looking over at me kind of slyly. I was bearing down and trying not to disgrace myself. It was some kind of homeopathic hangover remedy, but it was a sequence of pills that made up this remedy.


And it worked! Michele Landsberg: I once was asked to write a feature about her, I think it was for Chatelaine.

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She and Graeme were on a farm in the country, and I remember how delighted she was to show me around the things she was growing and talk about birds. Then, they breathed life into the moribund Canadian branch of PEN , the oldest civil-society organization dealing with human rights in the world. Eleanor Wachtel: Atwood is out there. She shows up, she writes articles.

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With me, for instance: I got to Canada in I published a couple of short stories—this was very early on in my career—and she, out of the blue, wrote an article on them. However, it is much more than about Atwood. The Red Shoes is wonderfully written and takes you back to Canada at the time when Atwood was growing up and becoming a woman writer. It recreates the climate in which she became who she is. It also makes you discover the state of literature in Canada at the time. I had read about it before in many essays, but this book enabled me to get a feeling about it.

es.ywuzuxuf.cf The title comes from a film Atwood saw as a child, The Red Shoes , in which the female artist commits suicide because she is faced by the impossibility of pursuing her artictic career as a dancer and her love affair. Atwood, when she decided to become a writer, had this idea that she would die before 30 and never become a wife and mother.

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Womanhood and being an artist were seen as incompatible at the time. It is also a valuable testimonial about the Canadian renaissance in literature and the arts. It discusses how Canadian literature became viable, how small presses, such as the now famous House of Anansi, were born.