An Evening with Margaret Atwood

An Evening with Margaret Atwood

Literature to Explore Our Genetic Engineering Futures. 

A CHASS Lightning Rod Event
Friday, November 15, 2019, 6:00-7:30 PM

State Ballroom, Talley Student Union, NC State

It is impossible to talk about dystopian literature without mentioning Margaret Atwood, who has been described as the most important living author of our time. A true literary legend with over 50 novels, including The Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood’s writing has proved as timeless as it is prophetic. She has won numerous awards and honors including the Man Booker Prize, Arthur C. Clarke Award, Governor General’s Award, and the National Book Critics and PEN Center USA Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Atwood has always possessed the uncanny ability to predict the future of technologies and society and nowhere is that more apparent than in her book Oryx and Crake (2003): covering a host of issues including genetic manipulation, corporate domination, and global pandemics. In her talk, Ms. Atwood will share her thoughts on how she uses literature to explore our genetic engineering futures, challenging the audience to think critically and engage with the world around them from different angles.


NC State Student/Faculty/Staff Free Ticket – SOLD OUT

Public Tickets – SOLD OUT


 Immediately following the public talk, members of the newly launched Friends of the GES Center, will have the opportunity to attend a VIP reception with Margaret Atwood. Please contact us if you are interested in becoming a Friend.

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From Reviews of Oryx and Crake:

“Atwood herself, from a family of scientists, is far from confused when it comes to biology. The bioengineered apocalypse she imagines is impeccably researched and sickeningly possible: a direct consequence of short-term science outstripping long-term responsibility. And just like the post-nuclear totalitarian vision of The Handmaid’s Tale (1985), this story is set in a society readers will recognise as only a few steps ahead of our own.”
Helen Brown, for The Daily Telegraph, 5/11/2003

“But a dystopian novel is not intended as a literal forecast, or even necessarily as a logical extension of our current world. It is simply, and not so simply, a bad dream of our present time, an exquisitely designed horror show in which things are changed from what we do know to a dream version of what we don’t… Besides, given what is known about fish-gene-enhanced tomatoes—or those genetically modified goats that produce spider silk—the biologically reengineered world of “Oryx and Crake” ceases to seem very far-fetched.”
From Bioperversity, by Lorrie Moore, for The New Yorker, 5/3/2003

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FALL 2019: Margaret Atwood is visiting NC State to discuss her groundbreaking novel, Oryx & Crake. Related Courses *Participating in Nov. 15 discussion with Ms. Atwood WGS 350 STS 403 GES 591

Related Courses

Students enrolled in the following courses will read Oryx and Crake, and participate in an hour-long group discussion with Ms. Atwood on Friday, November 15, prior to the general event later that evening.

WGS 350 — Emerging Issues in Women’s and Gender Studies: Feminist Futures

Instructor: Patsy Sibley, M/W 11:45 AM – 1:00 PM, 3 credits

Course description
This experimental course seeks to both explore and disrupt dominant narratives of “the future” by exploring the possibilities of alternative futures as imagined by and with feminist communities and feminist thinkers. By examining critical technology studies, theories of feminist technoscience, and speculative and science fiction across media, we will work to interrogate the ways in which technologies have been used to create, sustain, or challenge systems of power and oppression and to imagine new possibilities. Prerequisites: WGS 200 or WGS/STS 210

STS 403 — Capstone Seminar in Science, Technology & Society

Instructors: Matthew Booker and Julie Wesp, 2 sections – Wed 3:00 – 5:45 PM or T/TH 4:30 – 5:45 PM, 3 credits

Course description
Capstone course for the Science, Technology, and Society [STS] major. Review of the principal theoretical and empirical issues of the field. Research project focused on each student’s STS specialty. Prerequisites: STS 214, STS or STB Majors

ENG 588 — Fiction Writing Workshop

Instructor: Belle McQuaide Boggs, Thur 4:30 – 7:15 PM, 3 credits

Course description
Advanced work in techniques of writing fiction for students with substantial experience in writing. Workshop sessions with students commenting on each other’s work. Prerequisite: ENG 488 or ENG 489

GES 591 — Special Topics in Genetic Engineering and Society

Instructor: Zachary Brown, Tues 12:00 – 1:00 PM* (sec 002), 1 credit

Course description
The GES Colloquium hosts a local, national, or international speaker weekly to discuss complex and contentious issues around genetic engineering and society.  *Note: Time and location listed incorrectly in course catalog. Room will be Poe 202.
Go to Course Catalog

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Partners and Sponsors

An Evening with Margaret Atwood, and its related events and activities are made possible by the generous support from and collaborative partnerships with the following:

Friends of the LibraryNC State University LibrariesNC State College of Humanities and Social Sciences - Lightning Rod Series GrantNC State College of Sciences - Spirit of Science Illumination Fund

NC State Department of EnglishNC State Science, Technology, and Society (STS)NC State Women's and Gender Studies (WGS)

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