Poster by T.A.
LIFE AND STYLE
The Q&AMargaret Atwood
'How do I relax? What is this "relax" of which you speak, Earthling?'
Friday 28 October 2011 22.59 BST
Margaret Atwood, 71, was born in Ottawa and lives in Toronto. She has written more than 50 volumes, but is best known for her novels, including The Handmaid's Tale and Booker prizewinner The Blind Assassin; her most recent is The Year Of The Flood. A campaigner for the environment, she has contributed to the Ghosts Of Gone Birds exhibition at the Rochelle School, east London, from 2-23 November.
When were you happiest?
Can't pick and choose, it's bad luck.
What is your greatest fear?
Long, lingering dementia, followed by death from choking on a fishbone.
What is your earliest memory?
Digging in mud with a spoon, 1942.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Getting too involved in too many things. It eats your brain.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
What is your most treasured possession?
Right now, my glasses.
What would your super power be?
The flying-around thing. With a cape.
What makes you unhappy?
Reading newspapers before caffeine.
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
The great auk, like the one I just knitted for Ghosts Of Gone Birds, in aid of BirdLife International's preventing extinctions programme.
Who would play you in the film of your life?
Somebody short. Or else Lady Gaga.
What is your favourite word?
And. It is so hopeful.
What would you wear to a fancy dress party?
A Dolly Parton wig and stiletto heels.
Is it better to give or to receive?
To give, definitely, because you have no say in what you receive.
Which living person do you most despise?
I don't do "despise", I do "annoying pity".
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
"OK, I'll do" (your fundraiser, etc).
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
On the Titanic for the first few days of its voyage. Or at the siege of Troy.
How do you relax?
What is this "relax" of which you speak, Earthling?
What is the closest you've come to death?
In 1948 when the brakes failed on our car. About to get on a plane to New York on 9/11. Choking on a fishbone.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
The white-water canoe run I did solo at Lady Evelyn Park 20 years ago. It was impromptu. It took the skin off my knees. It was an unnecessary risk.
How would you like to be remembered?
By members of a human race who have managed to avoid annihilating their entire species and can thus still do some reading, and remembering.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
The only way out is through.
Where would you most like to be right now?
The Canadian Arctic. Nothing like it.
Tell us a joke
What does the Canadian girl say when you ask her if she'd like sex? "Only if you're having some yourself."