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Presented byKirsty Young

Desert Island Discs Presenter Kirsty Young

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood


First broadcast: Sun 13 Apr 2003

Novelist, Booker Prize winner

Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the writer Margaret Atwood. Born just after the outbreak of the Second World War, Margaret Atwood spent much of her childhood in the Canadian outback where her father's work involved studying insects. She grew up mostly without television, cinema, mains electricity or even a proper road to civilisation. For company she had only her parents and her brother, with whom she wrote "serials, mainly about space travel".

It wasn't until her teens that the urge to write struck seriously, an event she describes as "a large, invisible thumb descended from the sky and pressed down on the top of my head. A poem formed." After University, a spell in England and a period teaching early morning classes to engineering students she had her first novel, The Edible Woman, published. Since then she has written nine more novels, four of which were Booker nominated with The Blind Assassin finally winning in 2000. Three of those novels have been made into films: Surfacing, The Handmaid's Tale and The Blind Assassin. She has also published some dozen books of poetry, five collections of short stories, four books for children and assorted non-fiction titles. Her latest novel, Oryx and Crake, set in a genetically engineered, post-apocalyptic landscape is published on May 5th this year.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]


Ludwig van Beethoven


Castaway's favourite

Ludwig van Beethoven

Symphony No. 6 in F major 'Pastoral' - 5th movement (Shepherds' Song)

Orchestra: London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Others who chose this artist

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Là ci darem la mano (from Don Giovanni)

Soloist: Bo Skovhus and Nuccia Focile

Others who chose this artist

Johann Sebastian Bach


Johann Sebastian Bach

Goldberg Variations - Aria

Soloist: Glenn Gould

Others who chose this artist

Van Morrison with Them


Van Morrison with Them

Here Comes The Night


The Arabian Nights (1001 Nights) by

Others who chose this author

Luxury item

A huge vat of Culpepers Rose Geranium bath salts

Others who chose a similar luxury

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