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Margaret Atwood comes to Utrecht during book week


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Margaret Atwood, the success author of, among others The Handmaid's Tale, is coming to Utrecht on the last day of book week, Sunday 19 March 2023, for an exclusive performance at ILFU in TivoliVredenburg's pop venue Ronda. There, she will talk to Janine Abbring about her new book Old Babes in the Wood present. Ticket sales start Friday 10 February, 10am (and for ILFU members immediately).

Margaret Atwood, author of more than 50 books, twice winner of the Man Booker Prize and recipient of the Belle van Zuylenring, is finally coming to the Netherlands again. In 2020, she produced the Belle van Zuylen lecture for ILFU, which she recited by livestream from Canada due to coronamation measures at the time. Now she will be there herself, live on stage in Utrecht.

Atwood achieved great fame with The Handmaid's Tale, a 1985 dystopian novel, which has since been adapted into a successful TV series. The uniforms of the maidens have since popped up during demonstrations worldwide as a symbol of the state's oppression of women. The sequel to the novel was published in 2019, The Testaments, for which Atwood received a Booker Prize for the second time.

ILFU director Michael Stoker: "In her many novels, stories and poems, Margaret Atwood has always held up a mirror to us: is this how we want to live? Literary fiction confronts us with all forms of human behaviour and some people apparently find it difficult to deal with this. There are countless writers worldwide who are persecuted, attacked or threatened, like recently in our country Pim Lammers, nota bene because of a short story he once wrote. It only strengthens us in our mission to put literature and fiction writers fully in the limelight. Margaret Atwood is undisputedly one of today's greatest writers. We are enormously pleased that she is coming to the Netherlands during Book Week."

In her new collection of short stories Old Babes in the Wood (translated by Lidwien Biekmann as Berries in the forest) Atwood explores the core of family relationships, marriage, loss and memory, and what it means to spend a life together. She will discuss this new book and her previous work with Janine Abbring in Utrecht.

Book Week

The 88th Book Week, the annual readers' festival in bookshops and libraries, takes place from Saturday 11 to Sunday 19 March and this year's theme is I am everything, a celebration of the pluriformity of our identity. Lize Spit is the author of the book week gift and Raoul de Jong addresses the theme in a special issue I am everything.


The ILFU (International Literature Festival Utrecht) organises an annual two-week festival in September, focusing on literature. Also during the rest of the year, ILFU invites writers to take the stage in Utrecht and, with, forms an online platform for literature, supported by now 1,200 members. In addition to Margaret Atwood, American author Lauren Groff and Danish author Helle Helle will visit Utrecht for ILFU Book Clubs. The next edition of the festival will take place from 22 September to 7 October 2023 and will conclude with the 40th edition of the Night of Poetry.

ILFU Book Talk: Margaret Atwood
Sunday, March 19, 2023, 2:30pm
TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht
Tickets: €18 - €37.50 (ticket sales start: Friday 10 February, 10am)

More information and tickets via

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