Margaret Atwood and Graeme Gibson met with the editorial board at the Windsor Star on Thursday to talk ferries, farming, and living anonymously on Pelee Island.
The couple stopped in at the newspaper’s offices on their way to Springsong, an annual event held on Pelee Island, about 100 kilometres southeast of Windsor, Ontario, on Lake Erie. Now in its 11th year, the fundraiser is put on by the Pelee Island Heritage Centre in celebration of local bird populations and Canadian literature. Atwood and Gibson,who have owned property on the island since 1987, regularly take part in the festivities. They will be joined this year by authors Wayne Grady and Merilyn Simonds.
In a video posted to the Star‘s website, Atwood discusses how the lack of transportation to the island (the area’s ferries have been out of service since April) has had devastating effects on the community. “The people who are really being hard hit at the moment are the farmers, because they cannot get their seed onto the island so they can’t plant anything,” Atwood says. Gibson adds: “And no one seems prepared to do anything realistic for them.”
Later in the interview, Atwood explains the island’s appeal to a CanLit icon: “Tourists go over and say, ‘You’re Margaret Atwood.’ … People on the island say, ‘Margaret who? … When people say, ‘Come and do such-and-such,’ I say, ‘Well, I actually can’t because I’m on the island.”