The bleary-eyed and coffee-deprived on a Monday morning might have overlooked clues to the tweet’s lack of authenticity
“Not yet, pal!” the celebrated Canadian author responded a couple of hours later.
“Otherwise put, if I’m dead I’m not telling.”
The report was a bit of a shock to start the week; Atwood seemed perfectly alive (if somewhat sleep deprived) only last November at a Canada Post ceremony in Toronto, unveiling a stamp in her honour.
And, come to think of it, the 82-year-old Atwood seemed robust and ambulatory (with some assistance) on the arm of Bernardine Evaristo, with whom she jointly won the Booker Prize for Fiction in 2019; Atwood for The Testaments and Evaristo for Girl, Woman.
The death notice came at 8:51 a.m. on a fake Twitter account, purportedly from Atwood’s long-time publisher.
The bleary-eyed and coffee-deprived on a Monday morning might have overlooked clues to the tweet’s lack of authenticity — a couple of spelling errors (‘aurhor’and ‘reeased’) and the misspelling of McClelland & Stewart.
The premature report of Atwood’s death was later attributed to Tommaso Debenedetti, an Italian writer known for writing fake news, whose victims include The New York Times and The Guardian.
It’s not the first time Debenedetti laid a writer to rest on Twitter. A fake tweet in June 2020 targeted the Czech novelist Milan Kundera, best known for The Unbearable Lightness of Being.
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