Canadian author Margaret Atwood said Wednesday she will publish a sequel to her novel The Handmaid’s Tale next year, taking readers deeper into her vision of a dystopian America ruled by a misogynistic theocracy.
Atwood said the new book, The Testaments, will pursue unresolved narratives in the original 1985 novel, delving into the “inner workings” of the fictional nation of Gilead.
“The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in,” the celebrated novelist said in a video message posted on Twitter.
“The Testaments is set 15 years after (lead character) Offred’s final scene and is narrated by three female characters,” the celebrated author said on Twitter. It will be published in September 2019.
The success of The Handmaid’s Tale has been amplified by the wild popularity of the Hulu series adapted from the novel. It first aired in 2017 just as liberal America was coming to terms with the presidency of Donald Trump.
Atwood’s nightmare of an America transformed into a totalitarian society, where women are reduced to sexual slavery, quickly became a parable to many about the political shift to the right and the national reckoning about sexual abuse.
Since then, female protesters all over the world have donned the red habit and white bonnet worn on TV by the persecuted women of Gilead — at abortion rallies in Buenos Aires and Dublin, at anti-Trump rallies in Warsaw, and in opposition to Brett Kavanaugh’s appointment to the US Supreme Court.
“When Donald Trump was elected President in November 2016, Handmaids became a symbol of the movement against him, representing female empowerment and resistance in the face of misogyny and the rolling back of women’s rights,” Atwood’s publisher Penguin Random House Canada said in a statement.
The Handmaid’s Tale won the Booker prize and has sold more than eight million copies in English worldwide, while the TV adaptation starring Elisabeth Moss and Joseph Fiennes won an Emmy Award last year’s best drama, but went home empty-handed last turn in September.
In May, Hulu announced the series had been renewed for a third season. The new book, the publisher said, is not connected to the television series.