Margaret Atwood is returning to Gilead.
The author behind The Handmaid’s Tale announced Tuesday that she is writing a sequel to the dystopian novel, which will be released next fall. EW confirmed the news with the book’s publisher, Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
The Testaments is set 15 years after Offred’s final scene in The Handmaid’s Tale and will be narrated by three female characters. “Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book,” Atwood said in a statement. “Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.”
The Handmaid’s Tale is set in a grim (and not-so-distant) future in which the United States has been replaced by an oppressive, theocratic government that forces fertile women into servitude to bear children — and centers on one of those “handmaids,” Offred, and her fight to survive under Gilead’s totalitarian regime. The novel was first published in 1985, but gained renewed attention in recent years thanks to its acclaimed TV adaptation. The Hulu series concluded its second season this past summer and is due to return for a third.
EW has learned that the book will not be connected to the TV series.
“I have published Margaret Atwood’s work since 1976 – her poetry, fiction and nonfiction,” Nan A. Talese said. “A manuscript from her is always a reason for joy. She writes wonderfully and has a mind like a steel trap. This new book is no exception.”
The Testaments will be published on Sept. 10, 2019.
—David Canfield contributed reporting.