Monthly Archives: August 2009

This post is about the eco-papers for the programmes at the Tour Events.

For the US, Nicole Rycroft of tells us:

These printers all stock the Cascades ENVIRO 100 paper (100% post-consumer recycled, processed chlorine free paper produced by Cascades). I’m sure these printers will be using vegetable based inks.

Boston – Kirkwood Printing and DS Graphics
NY Metro – Ramsey Press and DG3
Wash DC – Svec Conway and Harris Litho
Chicago – CL Graphics and Hagg Press

On the west coast, I’d suggest using one of New Leaf Papers – perhaps the EVEREST (100% post-consumer recycled, processed chlorine free) Printers that stock them and have good environmental practices include…

San Francisco – Greener Printer – 1-866-978-8547

LA – MELISSA KIRBY, ANDERSON PRINTING, T 323.460.4115 C 323.359.0290

Dan Boettcher, ALLIED GRAPHICS, INC. P: 805/988-4088 C: 805/368-6142

Bill Cooper DUAL GRAPHICS 714.990.3700 (main) ext.287;  714.308.6437 (cell)

For Canada:

Here is a list of printers stocking the paper (ENVIRO 100, produced by Casades) we’re recommending for Margaret’s tour materials. Just so you have the technical specs on the paper – it’s 100% post-consumer recycled, processed chlorine free paper. It’s carries the lightest impact on biodiversity and our climate of papers on the market.

Ottawa: Plantagenet Printing or Cielo Printing
Kingston: Digi Graphics
Toronto : Bown of Canada, CJ Graphics, Webcom, Warren’s Waterless, Die and Duhram or St-Joseph Printing
Sudbury : Journal Graphics
Vancouver: Hemlock Printing

I believe all of these printers use vegetable based inks. Webcom, St Joseph and Hemlock have environmental paper policies with Canopy. There doesn’t seem to be a printer stocking the ENVIRO 100 as a house stock in Calgary.  If it is the case that no Calgary printers stock it as part of the regular inventory, they can easily source it. Every printer in Canada can access it, so you just need to request it.

From the UK, Penelope Beech of  writes:

Just to confirm that we are printing the programmes for each venue now. Our printer has confirmed the following about their paper stock and general ethical processes.

Programmes will be printed on stock that is:
·        100% recycled·        100% post-consumer reclaimed material·        FSC certified·        Bleached using an Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF) process·        Fully recyclable and biodegradable·        Produced at a mill that holds the ISO14001 Environmental certification (the printing works also holds this certification ·        NAPM approved recycled product

Thanks to all who did this research!


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Mural_0058Blogging on QM2IMG_0074Talking_0055Signing0061The first event of the YOTF tour has now taken place, on the QM2 — I cravenly ducked the singing of the Mole Day Hymn from the book, but did manage to give a semi-coherent account of the tour project and read a few bits of the text. Favourite question afterwards: “Is there a plot?”  Ah yes. There is always a plot.

Dr. Peter Dean, meanwhile, gave a rip-roaring account yesterday of Jack the Ripper (excuse pun); he is a forensic doctor, so I shall now give him a copy of the Mole Day Hymn, as it fits in with his interests (carrion beetles, etc.).

I took a picture of the very first signing line, which I will enter on this post as soon as there’s a better connection. Meanwhile I struggle with my IPod, which I am just beginning to understand, although it has a will of its own and plays its favourite tunes no matter what I do. But I am chanting incantations to control it, and am determined to wrestle its ear pods and atavistic circular wheel thingie to the ground — it will not win.

Outside, fulmars, shearwaters, gunmetal sea, huge cloudscapes, and many happy people striding around the deck. It’s true. Sea air does invigorate.

Here are some pictures I have now managed to add, including me blogging in the cabin, Graeme and the sea, me talking onstage, and the first ever book signing of Year of the Flood.


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Queen Mary 2

This post is coming to you from near Newfoundland. I’m on the Queen Mary 2, lecturing my way across the Atlantic, thanks to Cunard. Tomorrow I’ll do the first-ever reading from The Year of the Flood, choosing pieces that are appropriate for the venue. What might those be? We will see. I will also try to sing one of the Gardener Hymns — the Mole Song, a tune that’s easy enough for me. Will I quail when the time comes? We will see that, as well.

Meanwhile my organic coffee adventures continue. After several brown spots on white tablecloths, the kindly waitstaff have taken commend of my Gorilla Coffee stash, and are pouring the water on themselves. My vegetarian stipulations are easily dealt with here — I’ve taken the Vegi-Vows for the duration. There’s something suitable on every menu, but I am not getting any thinner.

I can’t load pictures from this location, it seems, but I will put some on once land has been reached.


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In New York

En route, still in New York, where Graeme Gibson (75) was happy to be carded in the outdoor garden of the once-a-gas-station B-Bar  at Bowery and 4th. Here he is, toasting his new-found underaged status where the gas pumps once stood but the foliage now waves. Meanwhile the quest for green tour objects continues. Here are the Gorilla Organic Coffee Beans, thanks to Jess; the Green Beaver personal presentability aid; the Nature’s Path Hemp Plus emergency snack for when crisis strikes, and the organic Clif Bar; also the Endangered Species chocolate bar, semi-consumed. Yesterday a vegetarian-delight dinner was located at the beautiful HanGawi Korean vegetarian restaurant  ( And here am I in the cotton hat from the Natural History Museum, which replaces the old orange but magic

one I lost in a heat-addled moment in Central Park West. To whoever found it: put on head, click heels three times, and say “I wish I was in Kansas.” You only get one chance, and if your heart is not pure it won’t work.


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JeffIMG_0018IMG_0034Taylor_0035Yesterday and the day before were media days. Here is Jeff Brown from PBS, doing an interview for USA around US pub date of SEptember 22. The two young gentlemen are from the National Post: Adam McDowell (writer) and Tyler Anderson (photogapher). The young lady is Taylor Lazazzera, who will sing in the Toronto event, Sept. 24. We are in the garden of Bar Espresso Mercurio on Bloor at St.George — thnaks for the organic coffee and for letting us do interviews!

Pretty soon you are going to know way, way too much.


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New York

AirportIMG_0036First day out. In New York, en route to the UK. Trying to be virtuous, but caffeinated too, I passed on coffee at the airport –the airport! Aagh! Carbons! But I’m offsetting them — because I didn’t know where it came from shade-grown organic is the only kind that’s good for birds. So now I must rush out and get some of the good kind of beans to carry with me on the trip, and a small Bodum; doubtless I will  irritate waitstaff by asking for hot water. If you want to do this too, see Shade Coffee Bird Atlas on the Web – there are more and more brands. Maybe I’ll be able to get some Gorilla Coffee from Brooklyn. But Starbucks has some too… I’ll picture of me in my Hemp Dress Virtuous Wardrobe as soon as I figure out (again) how to work my new idiot-proof camera, but meanwhile John Fanshawe of BirdLife International — whose questions set me on this path a year ago — reports:

“… the RSPB teams at all the venues are busily preparing.  Each one now has the regional group engaged, planning stalls, and fund-raising buckets, etc., and shaping the exact plan to suit. Just as you suspected it would, the special nature of the launch events is already raising profile, with articles in the Bookseller, Guardian and Telegraph in the last couple of days. Certainly, all the RSPB regional staff are very excited about what is happening, not least the chance to work with new groups like the various book and literary festivals.”

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Here is the link to Virago’s new backlist covers — very stunning!  9781844080281

Here is a sample: the Oryx and Crake cover. All combine photo and drawn images.

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Just got the excellent news that the London event is now fully cast, with he-looks-perfect  Roger Lloyd Pack to be Adam One. The full cast for London is below. Terrific Diana Quick agreed to do this somewhat mad thing way back in May — she was the first to jump in, as Toby — see her bio A Tug on the Thread (Virago).

Location: St James’s Church, 197 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9LL
Date: Wednesday 2nd September and Thursday 3rd September.

Time: 7.30pm

Contact for ticket purchase: Tickets £15 / £10 Unreserved seating, book on <> or telephone 08444 771 000

Details: Literary Performance with music
Director: Irina Brown
Producer: Rosa Bosch/Fiona McMorrough
Narrator: Margaret Atwood
Adam One: Roger Lloyd Pack
Toby: Diana Quick
Ren: Lucy Briggs-Owen
Composer, Acoustic Guitar and Vocals : Orville Stoeber
Choir: The Pink Singers
Organ player: Malcolm Hicks
Drums: Javier Camilo and Ginarte Cossio
Designer: Louis Price
Light design : Tim Mascall

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Hello Anna of BBC: Germany (BerlinVerlag)will soon have its own page on the site, showing its lovely orange floating onion/balloon cover, and with the information in German. The Tour information for Germany, Austria and Holland will be put in as soon as we get the remaining details from the organizers in those countries, but roughly: Holland — their translation is ready and I have met the wonderful translator — after Sept. 10 and before Sept. 15, waiting for exact details. Germany and Austria and Switzerland (Zurich) between Oct. 14 and Oct. 21. See the Book pages for all languages and countries and publishers: we will add others as they happen.  We will also add any other “country visit” information. Thanks for your interest!

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IMG_0015Three days to departure — David Young came to dinner and also got a Saint Scroll for his work in planting trees on his street! He is a very good gardener and can grow vegetables on the rocks.


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