The Peak’s Writers Reveal the authors that have made the biggest impressions on them

The Peak’s Writers Reveal the authors that have made the biggest impressions on them

It’s the write stuff!
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Margaret Atwood

It’s uncanny that a Republican male should be responsible for the resurgence of Margaret Atwood’s popularity. With the advent of the Trump administration and the all too timely Hulu TV series based on her most famous novel The Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood’s Orwellian and often frightening predictions of the future and its patriarchal dictates seem to have eerily, if less overtly, come to pass. In The Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood’s depiction of a previously liberal society turned totalitarian dystopia obsessed with reproduction and warped by religion, puts a woman’s body squarely under the control of a male dominant world – a situation mirrored recently by a bill signed by Trump restricting women’s abortion rights. In Oryx and Crake, Atwood had foretold the normalisation of porn with its addicts seeking increasingly extreme, and violent, forms of sexual gratification. Reading this, one might be apt to dismiss Atwood’s novels for their shock value but what stands out equally in her writing is the incredible empathy for her characters – women trapped in their predicaments but trying to buck the system regardless. It’s very hard not to be affected by an Atwood novel and even harder not to relate, as I discovered through almost every milestone I’ve chalked. Nominated for the Booker Prize five times and one of the few women to have been awarded the Arthur C Clarke Award for science fiction, Atwood has always been a vocal advocate for women’s rights and the environment, with more than 40 books to her name. Her tireless drive has also seen the 77-year-old invent the Longpen, a remote writing service that allows users to write in ink via tablet and the Internet. Her magisterial talent is often imitated but rarely matched. Nevertheless, Atwoodian touches have shown up in Young Adult series such as The Hunger Games and Divergent, sounding a rallying cry to younger generations of women to remain independent in thought and spirit. – Mindy Teh

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