Margaret Atwood takes to Twitter to battle Toronto mayor about library closures

In a most unlikely battle, one of Canada's most beloved writers is embroiled in a heated debate against Toronto's Ford brothers.

Margaret Atwood has launched an online campaign against Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and the possible closure of library branches.

On Thursday, the author of more than 50 volumes of poetry, children's literature, fiction and non-fiction, retweeted a Twitter message asking her 227,000-plus followers to sign an online petition telling Toronto City Hall to keep the libraries open.

The Toronto Star reported Atwood's tweet crashed the server hosting the petition. The server has since been restored and the petition now has more than 24,000 signatures.

Atwood's twitter campaign has continued.

In response to the mayor's brother Coun. Doug Ford's comments, where he said, "We have more libraries per person than any other city in the world. I've got more libraries in my area than I have Tim Hortons," Atwood fired back.

"Twin Ford mayor seems to think those who eat Timbits (like me) don't read, can't count, & are stupid eh?"

Atwood also invited Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi to join in the online discussion.

"He wouldn't pass up a good read, a library, a Timbit, and Moi . . . :D (Have tried enticing him before)."

On Tuesday, Doug Ford gave Toronto reporters a provocative retort to Atwood's tweets.

"Well good luck to Margaret Atwood. I don't even know her. If she walked by me, I wouldn't have a clue who she is," he quipped.

"She's not down here, she's not dealing with the problem. Tell her to go run in the next election and get democratically elected. And we'd be more than happy to sit down and listen to Margaret Atwood."

The debate continues Thursday.

As part of the review of core services, the mayor last week said he wants taxpayers to tell him what services to cut and what to spare, offering every citizen five minutes to speak at a special meeting of his executive.

Atwood is travelling and will not be able to attend.

(Getty Images)