Atwood the Amazing

Is there nothing Margaret Atwood can’t do? Boost a slumping publishing industry with a children’s book, advocate for public libraries and even inspire a Sundance Film Festival entry. The acclaimed author’s best-selling book Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth was the subject of the documentary, Payback, a National Film Board production directed by Toronto’s Jennifer Baichwal.

The film was chosen to compete by the Sundance Institute as part of its World Documentary program, it will have its world premiere at the festival, running Jan, 19 – 29, 2012.  The film explores debt as a central theme and includes first-hand accounts from debtors and creditors across North America as wells as acclaimed commentators including Conrad Black.

Atwood is often thought of as a prophetic writer and the Payback book was no exception. Published in 2008, the book delved into debt, how it influences societies and how it is affecting the fate of the planet – the book was released in the fall as the global economic meltdown began. In a Zoomer interview with Atwood from May 2009, she spoke about impetus for the book.

“The fact is that I hadn’t known much of anything. I’d planned Payback as a series of five Massey Lectures three years ago, when the stock market was booming and real estate values were spiraling ever upward. I often write about subjects I don’t know much about but that interest me a lot — it’s a way of informing myself — and debt was one of those subjects.”

To read the full interview, click here.

-Tara Losinski

(December 1, 2011)