The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood, has been selected as the featured read for the Alliance area One Book One Community program for 2019.
Atwood will present the Schooler Lecture at the University of Mount Union at 8 p.m., April 10, and the committee is collaborating with the university to bring several opportunities for area residents to explore the themes of the book.
Originally published in 1985 and now resurging onto bestseller lists, The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian novel that tells the story of Offred, a handmaid in the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian government. The book, set in New England, tells the tale of how Offred and other handmaids recall snippets of the days when women were allowed to read, have families, and wear what they wanted.
In a New York Times article published in 2017, Atwood said she began writing the novel at a time when she was living in West Berlin before the Wall fell. “During my visits to several countries behind the Iron Curtain -- Czechoslovakia, East Germany -- I experienced the wariness, the feeling of being spied on, the silences, the changes of subject, the oblique ways in which people might convey information, and these had an influence on what I was writing,” Atwood wrote.
The first scheduled community discussion prior to the author’s appearance will be on Tuesday, January 29, at 7 p.m., at Rodman Public Library. Marcia Addison, Director of Library Services at Stark State College, and Mike Zerbe, Associate Professor of Management and Marketing at Stark State College, will present a book review of Atwood’s writing.
The following community discussions will be on Tuesdays at 7 p.m.:
Tuesday, February 12, at Stark State: University of Mount Union ‘s Jamie Capuzza Professor and Chair of the Communications Department and Liz Bandy Assistant Professor of the Communications will address gender issues.
Tuesday, February 26, at Rodman Public Library: University of Mount Union’s Dr. Keith Miller Assistant Professor of Biochemistry will present biotech issues related to themes in Atwood’s novel.
Tuesday, March 19, at Union Avenue United Methodist Church’s Fellowship Hall: University of Mount Union’s Associate Professor and Chair of Political Science and International Studies Francis Schortgen will address political resistance.
Tuesday, March 26, at the YWCA: University of Mount Union’s Theresa Davis Assistant Professor of History and Department Chair and University of Mount Union’s David Thiele Associate Professor of English and Department Chair will present on an area of history as regards the themes and issues in Atwood’s novel.
Copies of The Handmaid’s Tale will be available to check out and for purchase at Rodman Main and Branch Libraries. The book will also be for sale at the University Store at the University of Mount Union. The cost is $10.