Atwood's dystopian novel "The Handmaid's Tale" is enjoying a cultural resurgence as a TV adaptation has resonated strongly with feminist movements in the Donald Trump era.
Atwood, who was recognised as one of Variety's Power of Women honorees, said when the opera was staged again, they had to take it out "because it was no longer in the future".
She asked the interviewer whether this gave him a creepy feeling and when he said, "Yes, it does", she replied, "They didn't get that idea from my opera, don't worry. They got the idea from "Star Wars".
"Remember the first one? Two guys fly a plane in the middle of something and blow that up? The only difference is, in 'Star Wars', they get away. Right after 9/11, they hired a bunch of Hollywood screenwriters to tell them how the story might go next. Sci-fi writers are very good at this stuff, anticipating future events. They don't all come true, but there are interesting 'what if' scenarios," she added.
"The wall was still in place. Because I was Canadian, we could go across to East Berlin, Czechoslovakia, and Poland, which we did. They were all Iron Curtain countries at the time. That definitely had an influence on the book, most particularly the feeling that people were very reluctant to talk to you until they absolutely trusted you and you were in a place that wasn't bugged.
"I had been thinking about this book for a while. I had been collecting newspaper clippings, which one did in those days. There was no internet. So my rule for it was, nothing goes in that didn't have a precedent in real life - somewhere, sometime," she said.
Asked whether she was surprised by Trump's win in the US presidential race, the author said she was not.
"I'm too old to really be surprised. Think of how long I've been on the planet. I've seen a lot of regime changes in different countries. The people who were devastated were young people who had never experienced anything of the kind. And some of them were quite upset. But it's not the end of the world, although it's pretty bad for the environment," she said.
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