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The Testaments: Sequel to The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood to be published in 2019

The acclaimed author cited 'the world we've been living in' as inspiration for the follow-up

Jacob Stolworthy
Wednesday 28 November 2018 16:02 GMT
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(Hulu)

Margaret Atwood has written a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale.

Titled The Testaments, the book will be published next year, more than 30 years after the original was released in 1985. Atwood confirmed the news on Twitter, revealing it will be available to purchase in September 2019.

Instead of charting the events seen in the Elisabeth Moss-starring TV adaptation (the second season of which continues past the original novel), the follow-up will be set 15 years after the final scene in Atwood’s book and told from the perspective of three female characters. It’s currently unknown whether one of these will be Offred, the leading character played by Moss in the Emmy-winning Hulu series.

Atwood shared her intentions behind a new Handmaid’s Tale novel in a statement, saying it has been inspired by “the world we’ve been living in” in recent years.

“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,” Atwood said.

Speculation of a follow-up was rife after Atwood released an audiobook of The Handmaid’s Tale which came accompanied with a special extended version of the epilogue in which a professor tells a crowd many years after the book’s events: “I hope to be able to present the results of our further Gileadian investigations to you at some future date.”

It seems Atwood’s sequel will do exactly that.

Moss won an Emmy and Golden Globe for her portrayal of Offred in the series, which is set in a future where fertile “handmaids” are forced to bear children for the brutal theocrats of a new government called Gilead. Her co-stars include Yvonne Strahovski, Joseph Fiennes and Ann Dowd.

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