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A Talk With Margaret Atwood and Ailbhe Smyth


On Friday, November 1st, the College Historical Society is delighted to present world-renowned poet, novelist, and activist Margaret Atwood with the prestigious Burke Medal for Outstanding Contribution to Discourse through the Arts. Previous recipients include George R. R. Martin, Patti Smith, and Sinead O’Connor. The event will take the format of a presentation and speech, followed by a conversation and Q&A.
Questions for the Q&A can be submitted in this form:

Atwood is best known for her prose fiction and poetry. Atwood has won numerous awards and honours for her writing, including this year’s Booker Prize for her novel “The Testaments”, the best-selling sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale”, which, 34 years after its publication, is the most borrowed adult novel from London libraries. She has previously won the Booker, for The Blind Assassin in 2000, and had five other novels shortlisted.
In 2017, Atwood was named as one of TIME magazine's 100 Most Influential People. Many saw this as a nod to how relevant Atwood’s writing was and how far ahead of us she is. Ann Pratchett wrote “[Atwood’s work] described what seemed impossible. Today it stands as a warning.”
Ailbhe Smyth is former academic, feminist and lesbian activist. She was a founding director of the Women's Education, Resource and Research Centre at University College Dublin. In 2019 she was listed in Time100 for her tremendous work with Together for Yes and the Coalition to Repeal the Eighth Amendment. This was a broad cross-sectoral platform of over 100 organisations and groups that worked to lifted Ireland's abortion ban. In 2018, the 8th Amendment was repealed by 67% of the referendum vote.
The Hist is proud to facilitate a conversation between such exemplary thinkers and activists.
Admission to the event is on a first-come first-served basis and we recommend arriving early to avoid disappointment. We look forward to seeing you there!
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College Historical Society events are free and open to members only. Please bring your Hist card as proof of membership. If you’re not already a member, you will be able to join at the door.
You can also purchase membership here:
Membership is €6 and lasts for four years. To be a member of the Hist, you must be a staff or student of Trinity College Dublin— a valid Trinity ID must be shown when signing up.
If you have any accessibility requirements, please let us know at so we can accommodate these at the event.

Earlier Event: October 31
Tea and Toast
Later Event: November 1
Intermediate Debate Training