Margaret Atwood is making an official return to the world of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and it’s coming sooner than most fans of the show it helped create may have expected.
On Wednesday, Atwood announcement the imminent publish date of “The Testaments,” an official “Handmaid’s” sequel, set a decade and a half after the original novel left off. In a short video, posted to Twitter, Atwood revealed that the new book will be available in September 2019.
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
In it, Atwood says that one inspiration for this new venture “is the world we’ve been living in.” It’s now been over three decades since “The Handmaid’s Tale” was published. Since then, the book has spawned two seasons of a Hulu show of the same name, which went on to win Best Drama Series at the 2017 Emmys.
The events of the source novel end in roughly the same place that the first season of the show did. The novel’s epilogue, which goes beyond the perspective of Elisabeth Moss’ character Offred, has helped to guide showrunner Bruce Miller and the writing staff as they go beyond the confines of the novel. (Of course, “The Handmaid’s Tale” isn’t the first television series to venture out beyond the world of its source novel, as shows like “The Leftovers” and that really popular one with all the dragons have shown.)
Atwood has also worked on a special edition of “The Handmaid’s Tale” for Audible, which slightly dramatizes parts of the book’s final section. As part of the announcement of “The Testaments,” Atwood explained that this new book will include narration from at least two women beyond the book’s conception of Offred. “The Handmaid’s Tale” series has been renewed for a Season 3, but no official date has been set for the series’ return.