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Atwood, Margaret.

LETTER: TLS to Amanda Vaill.


To Viking Penguin Executive Editor Amanda Vaill
Atwood, Margaret. Typed letter signed, "Margaret Atwood" to Amanda Vaill, June 6, 1986; one 8 ½" x 11" leaf; creased from mailing.
Following a query from Viking Penguin Executive Editor Amanda Vaill, Atwood turns down a request to blurb Saints and Strangers.
The letter, reproduced in full:
Thank you for your letter of 20 May and for the proofs of Saints and Strangers.
In reviewing the way I have spent my time recently, I find that most of it has been devoted to:
-short journalism
-quotes for book jackets
-appearances and other work for worthy causes
-teaching of various kinds
-accepting honourary degrees
-attending meetings
Too little of my time has been spent with my family, and none of it has gone to "creative" writing.
As I am a writer, this last is an absurd state of affairs, as I am sure you will agree. Therefore I have resolved not to take on anything in any of the above categories beyond what's already committed for the balance of the year 1986. After that we will see.
Since your request falls into one of the above slots, I am sure you'll understand why I have to refuse it. It's not the single straw that makes the difference; it's the large haystack I'm already carrying around.
Yours sincerely,
Margaret Atwood.
Atwood, who published fiction exclusively with McClelland and Stewart in the 1980s, did not at the time have a professional relationship with Viking Penguin or Amanda Vaill beyond the scope of this letter, as evidenced by the formality of Atwood's response (though she would publish some of her poetry collections with Penguin in the future).

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