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The Burgess Shale: The Canadian Writing Landscape of the 1960s

Höfundur: Margaret Atwood Rafbók

“Atwood provides a window into her own early writing days … a treasure for readers interested in Canadian literature because this is where it all began. ” —Prairie Fire Review of Books

“The outburst of cultural energy that took place in the 1960s was in part a product of the two decades that came before. It’s always difficult for young people to see their own time in perspective: when you’re in your teens, a decade earlier feels like ancient history and the present moment seems normal: what exists now is surely what has always existed. ”

In this short work, Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale and “Canada’s most famous writer” (The New Yorker), compares the Canadian literary landscape of the 1960s to the Burgess Shale, a geological formation that contains the fossils of many strange prehistoric life forms. The Burgess Shale is not entirely about writing itself, however: Atwood also provides some insight into the meager writing infrastructure of that time, taking a lighthearted look at the early days of the institutions we take for granted today—from writers’ organizations, prizes, and grant programs to book tours and festivals.

“Allows the reader a brief glimpse into the mind of a great writer and her perspective and experience living through what would now seem to many the Stone Age of the Canadian writing scene … invaluable and very readable. ” —Canadian Literature

© 2021 The University of Alberta Press (Rafbók) ISBN: 9781772123043

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