MARGARET Atwood is somebody I’d describe as a formidable woman. She's not necessarily a scene-stealing, booming thing so much as a writer who exudes wisdom and has a quip ready in three seconds flat; a person in front of whom you’d be terrified of saying something stupid.

Atwood is in conversation with Dr Liesl King, head of English Literature at York St John University, and together they lead Tuesday's audience through to consider some themes from Atwood’s latest book.

Hag-Seed is the latest pulication from the Hogarth Shakespeare project and sees Atwood retell The Tempest in modern Ontario. Seeking not to reveal any spoilers for those who haven’t yet read the book, Atwood and King discuss the writing process and the journey of adapting Shakespeare’s work in new territory.

It’s interesting to see how Atwood has questioned details which may be the minutiae of a play when depicted on stage over a three-hour period, but which, when translated to a longer narrative of a novel, are likely to come up as obstacles within the realm of The Tempest’s universal logic.

Atwood has clearly given thought to the most assumed questions of the play- after all, we’re not likely to wonder what they eat on Prospero’s island - but it is a detail which could unlock more unanswered questions, making for a more immersive read in the finished product.

It’s very satisfying to see Atwood discuss her involvement in the arts from a young age and her concern (or fascination) with scientific development and how new technology holds the possibility of undoing humanity.

You can tell Atwood has a rooting in science fiction, but her eagerness when describing the Future Library Project in Norway shows that Atwood is clearly concerned with furthering the same questioning, voracious attitude to learning and the arts in future generations. The evening proves Atwood an inspiration, and gives me an excuse to revisit some of her work.