Margaret Atwood to Receive Nashville Public Library Literary Award Oct. 26-27



With all the ongoing controversy over "legitimate rape" and the legislation of women's bodies by lawmakers who clearly don't understand them, many online commenters have invoked the dystopian landscape of Margaret Atwood's classic speculative (we say hopefully) novel The Handmaid's Tale. That makes the choice of Atwood as the recipient of the 2012 Nashville Public Library Literary Award unusually timely.

According to the library foundation website (and linked on Atwood's home page), Atwood will be in Nashville Oct. 26 and 27 to accept the honor, previously bestowed upon luminaries such as John McPhee, John Irving, Ann Patchett, Doris Kearns Goodwin and the late John Updike. (The first was awarded in 2004 to the late David Halberstam.) The event typically includes a patrons party, a public reading and a gala awards presentation, sometimes accompanied by a citywide reading of a selected book (e.g., Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany).

If that's the case here, we'd be happy with Atwood's ingeniously structured The Blind Assassin — but for topicality's sake, it'd be tough to beat The Handmaid's Tale. Alas.

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