Atwood on the BBC

Today the BBC’s Woman’s Hour programme included a lengthy interview with Margaret Atwood about her novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, which was published 25 years ago. Presenter Jenni Murray and guest critic Alex Clark discuss the novel with Atwood, and examine its relevance in a world increasingly plagued by religious fundamentalism.

Of interest to our readers will be the fact that Clark very clearly describes the book as “science fiction”. Rather than dispute this, Atwood acknowledges that she was working in a tradition whose founding texts included Huxley’s Brave New World and Orwell’s 1984, which by inference are presumably also science fiction.

The programme is available here via the BBC iPlayer. The interview with Atwood takes up the first 20 minutes or so of the show.


  • jeff vandermeer

    When she spoke here at Florida State University (Tallahassee), she did draw a distinction between dystopic fiction and SF, saying she preferred the former to describe Handmaid’s Tale because she felt that more accurately described the tradition she was writing out of. Possibly a splitting of hairs.


    • She can be very hair-splitty. I recall when I met her at an event prior to Torcon 3 that she told me she didn’t think The Handmaid’s Tale was a feminist book.