Last week, we were overjoyed to share a clip from brand new material Margaret Atwood wrote for an extended audiobook version of her 1985 dystopian classic, The Handmaid’s Tale. But as Canadian website The Loop noticed, the material seems like it could be hinting at even more new Handmaid’s Tale content to come.
Atwood’s original novel takes place in Gilead, a fictional future nation that includes parts of the United States and Canada. In it, fertile women (a rarity in these times) are forced to serve as concubines, or Handmaids, to upper-class couples who are unable to conceive children. The book ends with a scene from the even further future, in the year 2195, where attendees at a symposium are learning about what happened in Gilead through the diary of a Handmaid named Offred; Gilead no longer exists — although we don’t know much about the world that’s succeeded it.
In the new audiobook section, Atwood has written the Q&A session that follows the book’s original last line, “Are there any questions?” But this new material also ends on a puzzling note. The speaker, Professor Piexoto, closes with: “I hope to be able to present the results of our further Gileadian investigations to you at some future date.”
Does this mean Atwood herself will be writing these “further Gileadian investigations”?
“We asked Professor Piexoto about this, but he is being very cagey,” a representative from Curtis Brown, Atwood’s literary agency in the U.K., tells EW. “Naturally he does not want to say anything until the authenticity of the new material he and his colleagues have been analyzing can be determined.”
We’re keeping our fingers crossed that “Professor Piexoto” is hard at work — but with the April 26 premiere of Hulu’s Handmaid’s Tale adaptation, the extended audiobook, and the original novel, there’s plenty of information about Gilead for readers to investigate in the meantime.