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CELEBRITY TRAVEL - MARGARET ATWOOD
 
(2016 - Winter/Spring Issue)

Writer: JOHN AND SANDRA NOWLAN



Margaret Atwood is one of Canada’s most famous and best-loved writers.

The author of more than 40 volumes of fiction, non-fiction, children’s books and poetry, she’s best known for her novels, the latest of which, The Heart Goes Last, was published by McClelland and Stewart in 2015.

The Booker Prize winner (for The Blind Assassin in 2000) travels frequently, particularly to literary festivals and birding conferences across the globe. (She and her partner, novelist Graeme Gibson, are Joint Honorary Presidents of the Rare Bird Society.) But Margaret Atwood’s primary travel passion is Canada’s Arctic region where we interviewed her aboard an Adventure Canada expedition ship as it crossed the historic Northwest Passage.

Q&A

WHAT IS THE LURE OF THE NORTH FOR YOU AND GRAEME?

The land is astonishing. We’ve been coming here with Adventure Canada for the past 14 or 15 years. It’s like returning to the deep human past after the last ice age when people learned to make clothing, live in communities and hunt game communally.

DO YOU HAVE THE SAME PASSION FOR THE ANTARCTIC?

I’m really not that interested in it, mainly because it doesn’t have any people. There’s a lot more variety in the Arctic, an astonishing amount.

WHAT ARE YOUR OTHER FAVOURITE PLACES AROUND THE WORLD?

I’m very fond of Germany, Scandinavia and the south of France. We went to Estonia for the first time this year and liked it very much.

YOU’RE CURRENTLY ON A SMALL CRUISE SHIP. DO YOU ENJOY CRUISING?

This is really not a cruise. It’s expedition travel because, with ice conditions and weather, you never know where you’ll end up. I don’t like traditional cruising although we did cross the Atlantic on Queen Mary 2. Really, it’s just a way of crossing without getting jet lag on the other end.

WHERE’S YOUR NEXT TRIP?

We’re attending a literary festival in Jaipur, India. We’ve been to Delhi and Mumbai in the 1970s and ’80s, so this will be an adventure.

WHEN YOU FLY LONG DISTANCE, HOW DO YOU PASS THE TIME? 

Mainly I watch trashy movies that I otherwise wouldn’t see. Graeme listens to classical music until he falls asleep. We don’t much enjoy air travel but we’re involved with a carbon-offset program. Otherwise we’d feel too guilty.

SHOULD MORE CANADIANS TRAVEL? 

They should travel more inside their own country. Getting to the Arctic or to Newfoundland gives them a whole different sense of Canada. It rearranges the inside of their head completely.

 
 
 
 
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