Margaret Atwood‘s The Handmaid’s Tale saw a 670% year by year increase in sales recently. It has also sold over 8 million copies and was adapted for television in 2017. Soon the red robe and white bonnets worn by the handmaids were seen worldwide, used as a symbol of female oppression.

It appears that the renewed interest in the book, which was originally published in 1985, has spurred Atwood into action. She announced a sequel, titled The Testaments. “Dear Readers,” wrote Atwood in a press release. “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 Handmaid’s Tale follows Offred, a handmaid, and her struggle to live in a dystopian society. In it, America has been renamed Gilead, women are solely birthing vessels, and few can read or write. The book became a modern classic soon after its release.


The novel ends with Offred being placed in a van that could take her out of Gilead. Then, in an epilogue, a professor in 2195 gives a lecture on Offred’s tale. The ending of the book has been called “one of the most brilliantly ambiguous endings in literature.”

The Netflix adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale has now gone on to develop a story past Atwood’s 1985 version. The Testaments will be set 15 years after Offred’s final scene in the book and will be narrated by three female characters.

This isn’t the first time Atwood has talked about a possible sequel. Recently, she teased one in an audiobook adaption for Audible. The audiobook contained a Q and A after the professor’s epilogue. In it, Atwood said: “I hope to be able to present the results of our further Gileadian investigations to you at some future date.”

“I am in consultation with the professor, but he is being very cagey about this,” Atwood told Canadian website the Loop at the time. “He evidently doesn’t want to make any promises before he has finished authenticating his new discoveries.”

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