Atwood backs green tour

<p>Margaret Atwood is to take part in a 40-date three-month international tour of &ldquo;green&rdquo; literary and musical performances to launch her novel <em>The Year of the Flood</em> (Bloomsbury).</p><p>Each event will comprise six hymns written by Atwood alongside a one-hour reading scripted from the novel, read by the author and two others. Atwood told <em>The Bookseller</em> that the performances aren&rsquo;t plays: &ldquo;I will provide a continuity narration so that people who have never heard of the book will get the general thread. And of course because it&rsquo;s a book launch it won&rsquo;t end at the end.&rdquo;</p><p>Set in an environmental dystopia, <em>The Year of the Flood</em> focuses on a green cult called God&rsquo;s Gardeners. Atwood&rsquo;s hymns, which are interspersed throughout the novel, outline their animal and plant-loving creed, and have been put to music by US composer Orville Stoeber. </p><p>The tour will raise money for environmental organisations such as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, a partner to Birdlife International, of which Atwood is a joint honorary president. Choirs local to each host city have been chosen to reduce carbon footprint&mdash;Atwood will be the only member of the cast to travel. The whole tour will be carbon neutralised through a company called Zerofootprint.</p><p>Atwood added: &ldquo;We want the events to be within the strictures of the God&rsquo;s Gardeners. Therefore if people are served coffee it will have to be shade-grown organic, because non-shade grown, non-organic coffee is a big killer of birds.&rdquo; </p><p>Despite the ambitious nature of the tour Atwood was quite blase and added: &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been doing this sort of thing since high school. It&rsquo;s just an old way of doing things.&rdquo;</p><p>However, she added that putting music to the hymns wasn&#39;t planned: &ldquo;These things just kind of happen. You&rsquo;d think I&rsquo;d planned them but I don&rsquo;t. They just stumble along. My agent&rsquo;s partner is a musician and he got into the manuscript and the spirit struck him.&rdquo; </p><p>The tour will take Atwood to the US, Canada, Holland, &shy;Germany and Austria. The UK leg kicks off in Edinburgh on 20th August, con&shy;tinuing to London, Cardiff, Bath, Ely, and Bristol.</p><p>Talent taking part in the UK events include: Richard Holloway, Samantha Giles, Simon Cook and Diana Quick.</p><p>For a full list of tour dates visit www.yearoftheflood.com.</p>