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Margaret Atwood's new novel will continue 'The Handmaid's Tale'

Margaret Atwood is writing a sequel to her million-selling ‘The Handmaid?s Tale. ‘The Testaments’ will be published next September by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, the publisher announced Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
Published Nov. 28, 2018

Hold on to your bonnets. Margaret Atwood has more to say about the world she created in The Handmaid's Tale.

Publisher Nan A. Talese/Doubleday announced Wednesday that Atwood's novel The Testaments will be published Sept. 10. Set 15 years after Offred's final scene in The Handmaid's Tale, the book is narrated by three female characters.

In a release from the publisher, Atwood says, "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."

The prolific and widely honored Canadian author first published The Handmaid's Tale in 1985, and it is the best known of her more than 50 books. In 2016, after the election of Donald Trump, Atwood's dystopian novel became a symbol of resistance to misogyny; in 2017 the TV adaptation of the book became a hit on Hulu. Those two events put the book on the New York Times bestseller list for 88 weeks; it has sold 8 million copies in English and been translated into dozens of languages, according to Atwood's publisher

The TV series' second season extended the story of Offred's life in a brutal theocracy beyond the original novel's plot. A third season is in production.

The new novel by Atwood, 79, is not connected to the TV series, so readers will get a new and different extension of the tale. The Testaments will be published in hardcover, e-book and audio versions, with a first printing of 500,000 copies.

Contact Colette Bancroft at cbancroft@tampabay.com or (727) 893-8435. Follow @colettemb.

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