The Prescience of Margaret Atwood’s Works: Lessons from the Past to Illuminate the Post-Now (MMLA, Minneapolis, 11/16-11/21-22)

deadline for submissions: 
May 15, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Margaret Atwood Society
contact email: 

MMLA: November 16-21, 2022, Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, Minneapolis, MN.

 The Prescience of Margaret Atwood’s Works: Lessons from the Past to Illuminate the Post-Now

 As we find notes of Atwood’s works coming to fruition in news stories and politics, it is tempting to call her an oracle. However, Atwood’s brand of speculative fiction lends itself to showing up quite frequently (as she famously said about The Handmaid’s Tale, “Nothing went into it that had not happened in real life somewhere at some time” -- and history does repeat). From medical breakthroughs, to environmental tragedies, to questions about women’s reproductive freedoms, we see countless examples from Atwood’s works in our current post-now, post-Trump, current/post-pandemic world, but this call seeks to go deeper than pointing them out, and asks us to explore some potential questions:

  • What lessons can we take from Atwood’s works and/or characters to navigate this post-now world? (Consider such topics as our online lives, political infighting, racism, threat of war, new/reignited gender and sex battles, climate change, etc.)
  • How can we approach teaching Atwood’s works in new ways that advance criticism and promote community in this post-now landscape?
  • Through the lens of Atwood’s works, what roles do literature and the study thereof -- or the humanities more broadly -- play in creating a more just post-now world?

While Atwood’s works of speculative fiction (The Handmaid’s Tale, The Testaments, The MaddAddam Trilogy, The Heart Goes Last) lend themselves handily to this topic, we also encourage papers that explore Atwood’s other works of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, or combinations of two or more of Atwood’s works.

 Send proposals to Denise Du Vernay,, by May 15, 2022.