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  • Published: 5 September 2023
  • ISBN: 9781529114980
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 528
  • RRP: $29.99

Burning Questions

Essays and Occasional Pieces 2004–2021

An exhilarating collection of non-fiction from the bestselling, double Booker Prize-winning phenomenon that is Margaret Atwood

The Sunday Times bestselling collection of funny, endlessly curious and uncannily prescient essays from cultural icon Margaret Atwood.

In it she seeks answers to Burning Questions such as:

Why do people everywhere, in all cultures, tell stories?
How can we live on our planet?
What do zombies have to do with authoritarianism?

In Burning Questions Atwood aims her prodigious intellect and impish humour at our world, and reports back to us on what she finds. The roller-coaster period covered in the collection brought an end to the end of history, a financial crash, the rise of Trump and a pandemic. From debt to tech, the climate crisis to freedom; from when to dispense advice to the young (answer: only when asked) to how to define granola, we have no better questioner of the many and varied mysteries of our human universe.


'Brilliant and funny' Joan Didion

'She's taken our times and made us wise to them' Ali Smith

'Lights a fire from the fears of our age . . . Miraculously balances humor, outrage, and beauty' New York Times Book Review

'All over the reading world, the history books are being opened to the next blank page and Atwood's name is written at the top of it' Anne Enright, Guardian

'The outstanding novelist of our age' Sunday Times

  • Published: 5 September 2023
  • ISBN: 9781529114980
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 528
  • RRP: $29.99

About the author

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is the author of more than fifty books of fiction, poetry and critical essays. Her novels include Cat's Eye, The Robber Bride, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin and the MaddAddam trilogy. Her 1985 classic, The Handmaid's Tale, went back into the bestseller charts with the election of Donald Trump, when the Handmaids became a symbol of resistance against the disempowerment of women, and with the 2017 release of the award-winning Channel 4 TV series. Its sequel, The Testaments, was published in 2019 and was a global number one bestseller and won the Booker Prize.

Atwood has won numerous awards including the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Imagination in Service to Society, the Franz Kafka Prize, the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade and the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award. In 2019 she was made a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour for services to literature. She has also worked as a cartoonist, illustrator, librettist, playwright and puppeteer. She lives in Toronto, Canada.

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Praise for Burning Questions

The mighty Margaret Atwood writes about everything from granola to Trump

Robbie Millen, The Times, *Books to Look Out For 2022*

With her bold imagination, calm insight, and wit, Atwood gathers diverse strands into a marvellous collection ranging from the history of forests to the nature of science fiction and beyond. Burning Questions is a delicious antidote to intellectual fragmentation that left me inspired

Merlin Sheldrake, author of Entangled Life

I drank in the book this past weekend, in two warm slugs

Jennifer Senior, Atlantic

If there's one person in the world from whom you'd want a hot take on the most pressing issues, it would surely be Margaret Atwood . . . She answers our burning questions on climate change, the rise of Trump and on to debt and tech

Joanna Taylor, Evening Standard

[Atwood's] intelligence shines off the page with such intensity it makes you blink

Rose Shepherd, Saga Magazine

Margaret Atwood was recently described in a Guardian interview as "arguably the most famous living literary novelist in the world", and she is undoubtedly the most venerable . . . It's fascinating to read Atwood's reflections on her own novels and their continued relevance . . . but equally striking to see how many pieces she has included here generously celebrating other writers

Stephanie Merritt, Observer

This isn't just a collection of essays for Atwood fans. Rather, this is an attempt to make sense of the world, taking in with characteristic verve everything from Anne of Green Gables to Donald Trump, zombies to censorship . . . While the tone skates from surreal off-kilter wit to impassioned gravity, Atwood always makes the idea of big questions a little more digestible . . . The collection is polyphonic, enthusiastic, illuminating

Sophie Macintosh, i News

Atwood's third collection of essays...does not fail to impress... This is one to dip into again and again, and is likely to remain relevant many years into the future

UK Press Syndication

Atwood...always...gets right to the heart of the matter... More than 50 pieces display her astonishing range... Each is written with her trademark wit

Erica Wagner, Harper's Bazaar

Atwood is generous and unguarded - exactly what you would hope of her... frank, honest and good company

Shahidha Bari, Guardian

A kaleidoscope look at life and literature from the perspective of one of our finest writers... Her humour and breath of knowledge make this a collection to open your mind - and make you laugh

Zoe West, Woman & Home

[Atwood's] prescience, her wicked sense of humour, her generosity and her appetite for work at all on flamboyant display in Burning Questions

Mary Norris, Times Literary Supplement

A compilation of essays that pick the brain of Booker Prize-winning author Margaret Atwood, this is a wonderfully written insight into everything from zombies to the climate crisis


Atwood's third volume of essays... [is] shot through with wisdom and wit

Guardian, *Summer Reads of 2022*

This week, the Supreme Court nominated Margaret Atwood for a Nobel Prize in Prescience

Washington Post