Praise be: The Handmaid’s Tale is getting a sequel. This morning, November 28th, Penguin Random House confirmed Margaret Atwood is writing a sequel to her acclaimed 1985 novel, set to be released in September 2019. The Testaments (as it reportedly will be called) takes place 15 years after the final scene in the original book—in which Offred’s fate is left unknown—with three female characters serving as narrators. The sequel is not connected to the award-winning Hulu series which was renewed for Season 3 in May.
In a statement, Atwood said that the reader’s continued fascination and questions surrounding the world of Gilead inspired her to write the new book, and also acknowledged that the current political climate was a factor. She 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.”
In the wake of Donald Trump’s 2016 election, The Handmaid’s Tale has seen a resurgence in cultural popularity, serving as a symbol of resistance to the current administration and its regressive policies. Women all over the world have donned the red cloak and white bonnets worn by handmaids during protests for both women’s rights and reproductive rights. Basically, Atwood’s decision to explore the dystopian future once more could not be more timely.
September 2019 can’t come soon enough.