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Sunday, November 20, 2005

Where's Margaret?

Are you there Margaret? It's me, John.

Wasn't Ms. Atwood supposed to be in Ottawa (virtually anyway with her unotouchit - formally called the "Unotchit") this week signing her Penelopiad book? Her event seems to have been removed from the randomhouse.ca author events in Ottawa this coming 23rd of November. However, bookclubs.ca, an affiliate site to Random House of Canada, still lists the event (as of today). The website does say on their behalf, "Please note that these dates and events are subject to change." (Just thought I would let you know.)

Author Neil Gaiman goes on the record stating unapologetically earlier this year,"...I think Margaret Atwood's remote mechanical book-signing apparatus is the work of the devil, or at least a really really stupid idea." And blogger Georganna Hancock, also reflecting on Gaiman's remarks quips,"Has Margaret Atwood lost her mind?" In Atwood's defence, she's quoted in the Guardian Unlimited, "Last time I did a tour in Britain it was pretty horrendous," she said. "This will mean a lot less angst, inconvenience, starvation, sitting in airports and eating out of minibars." Poor Margaret.

The article ends with a promising(?) silver lining, however, "Far from estranging author and audience, Atwood said, the machine was 'a democratising device' which could help authors who were not stars, and often missed out on signing tours. Her invention could change all that." Change what exactly? What are the actual publicists saying -- those who have to, among other important duties, schlep the non-stars around town to the venues? Where does this device leave them? (Some may just say, "Publicist? You have a publicist?!) Does this emperor / 'star' have no clothes?

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