- The sequel will take place 15 years after the end of the first book.
- The Handmaid's Tale has sold more than 8 million copies in English since it was first published in 1985.
- Atwood said she was inspired to write a follow-up, in part, by the "world we've been living in."
Margaret Atwood is writing a sequel to her novel The Handmaid’s Tale.
The sequel, titled The Testaments, is set to be released in September 2019, and it’ll be narrated by three female characters living 15 years after the final scene of the first book.
The Handmaid’s Tale takes place in the fictional Republic of Gilead, a dystopian society in a near-future New England where women are subjugated under patriarchal, theonomical law. The novel was mostly well received by critics when it was published in 1985, drawing comparisons to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, and earning Atwood the Governor General’s Award and the first Arthur C. Clarke Award. It’s sold more than 8 million copies in English to date, according to Penguin Random House.
In 2017, Hulu converted Atwood’s landmark story into a TV series that won eight Emmys. The show’s first season was based on The Handmaid’s Tale, while the action in the second season went beyond the first book. The action in Atwood’s sequel won’t overlap with the upcoming third season of the TV series.
Atwood said in a statement that she was inspired to write a sequel from all the questions fans have asked her about the inner workings of Gilead. “The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in,” Atwood wrote on Twitter.
Atwood has spoken to Big Think multiple times about her creative process, Twitter and how literature can inspire empathy. Check out our most recent interview with Atwood below.