Margaret Atwood and the Labour of Literary CelebrityBook - 2013
For every famous author there is a score of individuals working behind the scenes to promote and maintain her celebrity status. This timely and thoughtful book considers the particular case of internationally renowned writer Margaret Atwood and the active agents working in concert with her, including her assistants and office staff, her publicists, her literary agents, and her editors. Lorraine York explores the ways in which the careers of famous writers are managed and maintained and the extent to which literary celebrity creates a constant tension in these writers' lives between the need of solitude for creative purposes and the give-and-take of the business of being a writer of significant public stature.
Making extensive use of unpublished material in the Margaret Atwood Papers at the University of Toronto, York demonstrates the extent to which celebrity writers must embrace and protect themselves from the demands of the literary world, including by participating in - or even inventing - new forms of technology that facilitate communication from a slight remove. This informative study calls overdue attention to the ways in which literary celebrity is the result not only of a writer's creativity and hard work, but also of an ongoing collaborative effort among professionals to help maintain the writer's place in the public eye.