'The Handmaid's Tale' author Margaret Atwood to visit IU Bloomington

  • Jan. 26, 2015


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Acclaimed novelist Margaret Atwood will visit IU Bloomington in February, where she will speak, give a public reading and interact with the community, faculty and students.

Her visit coincides with an exhibition of her work and its influences at the Lilly Library, a one-day academic conference dedicated to her writing and a screening at IU Cinema of the film adaptation of her award-winning novel "The Handmaid's Tale."

"Margaret Atwood has been a guiding literary light for nearly five decades," said IU English professor Ed Comentale, interim director of the College Arts and Humanities Institute, which is sponsoring Atwood's visit. "She first became famous for her fearless writings about gender and power, and now she’s inspired a whole new generation of readers with her fantastic tales of future dystopia. We’re lucky to be following along as she tackles some of the planet’s biggest issues: environmental instability, overpopulation, terrorism, human rights, genetic manipulation -- the list goes on and on. She’s a hero, and her visit to campus is a fan’s dream."

Events surrounding her visit include:

  • Jan. 28 to Feb. 20, "The Speculative Worlds of Margaret Atwood." The exhibition at the Lilly Library situates Atwood's work in the larger context of speculative fiction, showcasing treasures from the library's collections, including rare first editions of her books, literature that inspired or was inspired by her work and early 20th-century science fiction pulp magazines.
  • Jan. 29, "Between Activism and Apocalypse: The Work of Margaret Atwood." The academic gathering includes panel discussions and paper presentations by IU students and faculty from both IU and other universities, from 10 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. in the Indiana Memorial Union Oak Room. All symposium events are free and open to the public.
  • Feb. 1, "The Handmaid's Tale." The film will screen at 6:30 p.m. at IU Cinema. Free tickets can be obtained at the IU Auditorium Box Office; one hour before any screening at the cinema; or by phone at 812-855-1103 for a $10 service fee per order.
  • Feb. 3, "An Evening With Margaret Atwood." While this event at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater is sold out, those waiting in line before the 7 p.m. event will be invited to fill any available seats.
  • Feb. 4, "Student discussion with Margaret Atwood." From 10 to 11 a.m. at the IMU's Whittenberger Auditorium, Atwood will read some of her work and conduct a Q&A with IU students.

"Margaret Atwood is a novelist, poet, short-story writer and essayist who unflinchingly portrays personal failings, social injustice and ecological devastation, while offering hope for change and redemption," said IU associate English professor Monique Morgan, who will guide the Feb. 3 discussion with Atwood at the Buskirk-Chumley. "In her most recent trilogy of speculative novels set in the near future, Atwood -- to paraphrase one of her characters -- dreams bad things so that we won't have to."

A winner of many literary awards, including the prestigious Booker Prize, Atwood is the author of more than 40 volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction and nonfiction. Perhaps best known for her novels, including "The Blind Assassin," "Oryx and Crake" and "The Edible Woman," she is also a popular personality on Twitter with more than 600,000 followers. HBO is teaming with director Darren Aronofsky to develop a series based on her "MaddAddam" trilogy. 

Atwood's visit and surrounding events are hosted by the College Arts and Humanities Institute, with funding from the Ruth N. Halls Fund and the College of Arts and Sciences


There will be no scheduled press conferences or interviews while Atwood is on campus. A limited number of media credentials are available for "An Evening With Margaret Atwood" at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. Members of the media interested in attending should obtain credentials by contacting Ed Comentale at 812-855-4884 or No photography, videography or recording of any kind will be permitted during any of the events hosted during Atwood's visit to IU Bloomington.

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood | Photo by George Whiteside

Print-Quality Photo

Media Contacts

Ed Comentale

College Arts and Humanities Institute

  • Office 812-855-4884