Books

Margaret Atwood announces 'Handmaid's Tale' sequel to be released in 2019

FILE PHOTO: Author Margaret Atwood poses after winning the Academy Board of Directors Tribute award during the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, March 11, 2018. REUTERS/Fred Thornhill/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: Author Margaret Atwood poses after winning the Academy Board of Directors Tribute award during the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, March 11, 2018. REUTERS/Fred Thornhill/File Photo

In the surest sign yet that we are living in the age of reboots, revivals and sequels, Margaret Atwood announced Wednesday that a sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” her prescient 1985 novel, is in the works.

Titled “The Testaments,” the new novel is set 15 years after the protagonist’s final scene in “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and is narrated by three female characters. Atwood revealed the news in a tweet Wednesday morning and said the book is set to be published next year.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” and its dystopian tale of life in Gilead, a patriarchal society overseen by fundamentalist zealots with a singular obsession with women’s reproductive rights has seen renewed cultural significance in recent days. The book’s continued relevance is thanks in part to the high-profile Hulu adaptation, along with plenty of other contributing factors.

“Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything!” Atwood wrote in her tweet. “The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.”

“I have published Margaret Atwood’s work since 1976 — her poetry, fiction and nonfiction,” publisher Nan A. Talese said in a statement Wednesday. “A manuscript from her is always a reason for joy. She writes wonderfully and has a mind like a steel trap. This new book is no exception.”

Beyond the timeline and the narrators, little else has been revealed about the sequel. The book is not, however, in any way connected to Hulu’s current adaptation.

“The Testaments” is scheduled for release on Sept. 10, 2019, by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday with a first printing of 500,000 copies.

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