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Carl Wiens
September 2010
Atwood Portrait
posted:
The Walrus features excellent writing and art, commentary from a Canadian perspective. I submitted my work to the magazine this summer and received a call for an assignment from art director Paul Kim.
I don't get commissions for portrait work very often. I couldn't turn down the chance to illustrate an article on the recent works of Margaret Atwood, Canadian literary luminary. This piece contains imagery from a selection of books discussed in the article.

Ms. Atwood is best known for her novel 'The Handmaid's Tale'. You may remember a regrettable movie featuring Robert Duvall and Natasha Richardson. The article, written by J. Robert Lennon, discusses the author's career in the years following the 'big book'.
I followed up this assignment by reading 'Oryx and Crake'. It was a good read and I would recommend it if you fancy a distopian journey into genetic engineering run amok. Pure science fiction based on a lot of pure science.
Margaret Atwood is also a patent holder. She invented the LongPen. Weary of grinding cross-continent book signings, the device allows an author to sign books from a separate location, thousands of miles away. A video screen image of the author appears to the viewer and a stylus used by the author remotely activates pen on paper at the receiving end. A video of the interaction between author and recipient is recorded and can be provided to the signee.
The whole idea seems to contradict the act of meeting and having a face-to-face encounter with an author. However, the technology is out there. It's always a question of how it gets used.
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