Author Margaret Atwood has announced she will release a sequel to her landmark novel The Handmaid's Tale, which will be titled The Testaments.
In a press release announcing the news, the author said, "‘Dear Readers: Everything you've ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we've been living in."
She also announced the news on her Twitter page to the delight of her fans.
Yes indeed to those who asked: I’m writing a sequel to The #HandmaidsTale. #TheTestaments is set 15 years after Offred’s final scene and is narrated by three female characters. It will be published in Sept 2019. More details: https://t.co/e1umh5FwpX pic.twitter.com/pePp0zpuif
— Margaret E. Atwood (@MargaretAtwood) November 28, 2018
The Handmaid's Tale original novel revolves around the struggle of one woman to survive in a totalitarian regime which oppresses women, using them only to procreate and leaving them uneducated and without rights. It is set in a dystopian America which is known in the book as Gilead.
The second book will be narrated by three female characters and will take place 15 years after Offred's final scene, which ended with the main character being taken away in a van by people she believed were part of the underground resistance. The ending was very much left open to interpretation.
Becky Hardie, deputy publishing director of UK publishers Chatto & Windus, said: "As a society, we've never needed Margaret Atwood more. The moment the van door slams on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale is one of the most brilliantly ambiguous endings in literature. I cannot wait to find out what’s been going on in Atwood’s Gilead – and what that might tell us about our own times.”
Many have compared The Handmaid's Tale to modern events, such as the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, and it quickly became a symbol of the movement against him and stood for the repression of women's rights all over the world.
The sequel will not be connected to the television adaption of The Handmaid's Tale which became a huge success in 2017 and has already spanned two seasons, in which the second progressed beyond the events of the original 1985 novel.
The Testaments will be released worldwide on September 10, 2019.