FAQs:

1) What is O. W. Toad?
O.W. Toad is my office, run by my assistant, Sarah Webster. In addition to Sarah, the office has a staff of one other full-time, and one other part-time employee. The company name is an anagram of the letters in my last name. 
2) Can you provide me with a blurb for my book?
Publishers and writers often send me manuscripts with a request that I read the book and give them a quotable quote to use on the back cover. It takes four to six hours to read the book, and I get 10 or so of these requests a week. Multiply 5 hours times 10 requests and you get a 50-hour a week job. Choosing a few of the books to blurb doesn’t make things much easier, partly because it takes a long time to make a well-informed choice, and partly because choosing between books is akin to choosing which of your two sisters should be your maid of honour … no matter what you do, someone’s bound to have their feelings hurt. So my answer is no, to everybody. Click here for my poetic “no” to this particular oft-repeated request.
3)  Can you read my manuscript and help me get published?
I am sympathetic to the difficult situation in which writers often find themselves. For legal reasons, however, I simply can’t read unpublished manuscripts. For my advice to new writers, click here.
4) Can you tell me what a particular poem / novel ending / symbol means? 
Often students and curious readers write to ask questions about an interpretation of one of my books, questions such as, “This book ends ambiguously. We aren’t really told what happened to Character X. Can you tell me what really happened?” … or sometimes, “Critic X says Y about your use of Z. Do you agree?” There are two points to be made about this sort of question. First, what I think about what happened is already in the book. Secondly, I’m not comfortable giving interpretations of my work. If I were to provide one, it would become the definitive interpretation, inhibiting readers from finding their own meanings.
5) Can you come and read at our university / reading series / charity fundraiser? 
At the moment, I am working on a promotional tour for my new novel, so I’m not accepting speaking or reading engagements (watch the “Events” section for tour dates and venues). If you would like your event to be considered for a future date, click here for more contact information. For speaking engagements within North America, visit www.thelavinagency.com/
6) Can you donate something for my charitable cause? 
Besides requests to read for charities, I get a lot of requests to donate autographed books, personal items, or money to various charities. I review the requests for financial donations twice a year and make decisions at that time. With regards to donations for physical items, because of the volume of requests I receive, I have had to limit my donations to Canadian concerns, and while I do support a number of causes, I am sometimes hard pressed to fill all the requests, and must turn down some groups.
7) Can I have permission to reprint an Atwood work?
The publishers usually control the right to give permission to include an excerpt or story in an anthology, so these requests should be sent to them. (The publisher’s address is usually on the back of the title page of the book in question.) If they don’t control the rights you want, they’ll forward your request to whoever does.
8)  What is your favourite book? Colour? Food?
I receive an alarming number of requests for my lists of favourites. I generally do not answer this question, as I have a hard time deciding favourites.