Margaret Atwood, the acclaimed author of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” is writing a sequel set 15 years after the original book.
The new novel, titled “The Testaments,” will come out next September, Atwood and her publisher confirmed on Wednesday.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” was first published in 1985. The book has captivated a generation of readers with its depiction of a totalitarian takeover of the United States. Women are oppressed and some, like the narrator Offred, are forced to bear children.
In 2017 the book achieved newfound attention for two reasons: The beginning of the Trump presidency and the debut of the “Handmaid’s Tale” series on Hulu.
“Handmaid’s Tale” and several other dystopian novels shot to the top of the best-seller lists in January 2017 – a stark reflection of the fears of Trump’s opponents.
The Hulu series premiered in April. Although the streaming service ordered the show before election day, season one won acclaim for portraying a dystopian future that some Trump critics believe is all too close to becoming real.
“I would be very happy if my show became irrelevant as quickly as possible,” said Bruce Miller, the creator and showrunner of the Hulu series, told CNN earlier this year.
Season one of this series won the Emmy Award for outstanding drama last fall. Season two debuted in the spring, and season three is in the works.
But the TV series has deviated from the storyline of the book. “The Testaments” will be Atwood’s version of the story.
“Yes indeed to those who asked: I’m writing a sequel to The #HandmaidsTale,” Atwood tweeted on Wednesday. “#TheTestaments is set 15 years after Offred’s final scene and is narrated by three female characters.”
According to the publisher’s press release, the novel will be “unconnected” to the show.
“Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book,” she said in a statement, referring to “Handmaid’s” fictional setting. “Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.”