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Margaret Atwood: "Technology Mascot For The Literary World"
Digital and Social Media | May 09, 2013

Margaret Atwood: "Technology Mascot For The Literary World"

Margaret Atwood "recently published the final installment of a serialized novel about zombies co-written with a novelist who moonlights as an iPhone game-developer, for the YouTube-style 'social reading' website Wattpad," New Republic reports. That's a mouthful even for the most tech-savvy among us. But for Atwood—who is, as the publication describes, "somewhat of a poster child for how modern authors are supposed to conduct themselves online"—it's just another attempt to do everyday things in new, exciting ways. That's how she looks at technology. We've been inventing new technologies since the dawn of man, she says. Language, she notes, was one of the earliest technologies. Not only is technology not necessarily new, but these new advancements don't mean the end of the world as we know it. And, according to the New Republic, it's this mindset that enables her to be "enthusiastic about new technology [while being] neither tacky nor disingenuous."

Atwood is a popular presence on Twitter, writes regularly for Byliner.com, recently released a new novel series purely in eBook form, hosts virtual book tours, and helped invent the "LongPen" to sign books from anywhere in the world. (And that's only naming a few of the tech ventures she's embarked upon recently.) Through it all, she's remained optimistic without being overzealous, and informative without being "cheesy." This is an accomplishment for any tech junky, and even more so for the 73-year-old Atwood. As she says in the article, the internet is simply a "smoke signal in another form." While there are new opportunities burgeoning with the help of the web, Atwood argues that we are continuing to do what we as people have always done. And the aid of new technology doesn't change our basic instincts. "Being human remains about the same," Atwood says in the article. "I think it rearranges brain patterns temporarily, as all of our technologies do. But when the lights go out, and you can’t get your internet, how long does it take you to remember how to light a fire? Not very long. Not long at all."

With a huge literary repertoire, Atwood's influence in the literary world virtually speaks for itself. Never content to rest on her laurels, she is constantly embracing new ventures. Her foray into the digital world has certainly not gone unnoticed, either. The New Republic praises her "graceful" commentary on technology, and the L.A.Times says that she remains "ahead of the curve" and has overcome the stereotypes that surround traditionally technophobic authors. Her keynotes touch on literature, social activism, political engagement, the creative process, the artist's role in society, technology and art, and provide unparalleled insight into her own remarkable body of work.
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