Margaret Atwood Speaks at Kingsbury

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Christopher Samuels

(Photo by Chris Samuels)

By Kylee Ehmann

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(Photo by Chris Samuels)
(Photo by Chris Samuels)

Margaret Atwood spoke about the value of the humanities Wednesday night.

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Tickets to her show at Kingsbury Hall, titled “Human Values in an Age of Change,” sold-out early. A poet, novelist, literary critic and environmental activist, Atwood used Charles Dickens’s novels as an example throughout her speech.

“We gnaw our nails over Tiny Tim, but not over statistics,” Atwood said. “Art makes it personal.”

She defined narrative art, or storytelling, as an “essential human value” and advocated for this kind of liberal arts education at universities across the nation.

“You can take the humanities out of the curriculum,” Atwood said, “but you can’t take them out of the human.”

She said storytelling is essential to human survival, as well as a way to impart history and create empathy.

Jory Dayne, who attended the speech, is a fan of Atwood. His favorite novel by her is The Blind Assassin.

“She’s such a delight,” Dayne said. “It’s great to hear that kind of wit.”

The Tanner Humanities Center sponsored the event as part of their “Human Values Series,” a 30-year-old event where universities including Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Yale and the U host lectures. Past speakers include Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist, and Isabel Allende, an author.

The event was free for U students, and there was overflow seating in the James Talmage Building to watch a live-stream of the lecture.

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