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Margaret Atwood and the Frankfurt Peace Prize

'A book is a voice in your ear,' Margaret Atwood said in her acceptance speech at the Frankfurt Book Fair on Saturday.  Our capacity to create narratives and our delight in listening to them is what will save us in 'this strange historical moment' we find ourselves living through.  Unlike animals we tell stories to pass on important information so that each generation can learn without having to discover things from scratch.  But, she also warns, the narratives can fail.  Like most human tools, they can be used for both good and bad.

"Along will come a wolf in sheep’s clothing, or even a wolf in wolf’s clothing, and that wolf will say: Rabbits, you need a strong leader, and I am just the one for the job. I will cause the perfect future world to appear as if by magic, and ice cream will grow on trees. But first we will have to get rid of civil society – it is too soft, it is degenerate –– and we will have to abandon the accepted norms of behaviour that allow us to…

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