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Hope in Strange Paradises: Dystopias and their Bright Spots

September 22 at 7pm

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The Toronto International Festival of Authors is delighted to co-present PEN Canada’s inaugural Graeme Gibson Talk, titled Hope in Strange Paradises: Dystopias and their Bright Spots. Award-winning authors Omar El Akkad and Margaret Atwood will be in conversation with CBC Radio IDEAS host Nahlah Ayed to discuss dystopias and storytelling. The event honours the legacy and creative spirit of renowned author and writers’ advocate Graeme Gibson (1934–2019) and is the first in an annual series.

Omar El Akkad and Margaret Atwood are no strangers to considering dystopian worlds, in their stories and in life. Moderated by CBC Radio IDEAS host Nahlah Ayed, the authors will explore current themes in dystopian literature, as well as bright spots—the freedoms and limitations of our era and their implications—all through the lens of their fiction. Following his successful debut, American War in 2019, El Akkad’s latest novel, What Strange Paradise, offers a profoundly moving look at the global refugee crisis. Atwood is the author of more than 50 books of fiction, poetry, critical essays and graphic novels. Her collected essays of the last 17 years, Burning Questions, will be published in 2022. This free hour-long conversation will be available for 72 hours on September 22 at 7pm ET.

The inaugural PEN Graeme Gibson Talk is generously supported by Penguin Random House Canada.

About PEN Canada
PEN Canada is a nonpartisan organization of writers that celebrates literature, defends freedom of expression, and aids persecuted writers. To learn more, and to donate to PEN Canada, please visit Pencanada.ca.

About CBC Radio’s IDEAS
Hosted by veteran journalist Nahlah Ayed, CBC Radio’s IDEAS is a deep-dive into contemporary thought and intellectual history. Anchored in a powerful legacy and expansive archive spanning over five decades, its topics are boundless. IDEAS features documentaries, illustrated interviews, and panel discussions which have earned it a raft of international and national awards and distinctions. It’s also home to Canada’s preeminent public lecture series, the CBC Massey Lectures, which showcase a Canadian thinker “to communicate the results of original study on important subjects of contemporary interest.”

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Hope in Strange Paradises: Dystopias and their Bright Spots

September 22 at 7pm


Margaret Atwood by Luis Mora

Photo credit: Luis Mora

Margaret Atwood

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