Margaret Atwood Is Writing A Sequel To ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ Nearly 34 Years After The First Book

composite photo of margaret atwood and women dressed in handmaid's tale costumes
Thomas Lohnes / Kevin Hagen / Getty Images

Renowned Canadian author Margaret Atwood is writing a sequel to her most famous novel The Handmaid’s Tale over 30 years after it was published.

“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,” Atwood tweeted on Wednesday.

The tweet was accompanied by a slideshow in which Atwood gave more details of what fans can expect from the sequel.

“Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything!” one slide reads. “The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.”

First published in 1985, The Handmaid’s Tale follows Offred a woman who lives as a handmaid, a caste of female slaves who are tasked with childbearing. She lives in Gilead, a totalitarian state that used to be the United States of America. Women in Gilead have been plagued with a high rate of infertility which has triggered the enslavement of the handmaids.

The Handmaid’s Tale has gained increased cultural relevancy in recent years because the book has been adapted into a television show on Hulu, starring Elisabeth Moss. The popularity of the show seems to reflect growing concerns about the recent rise of multiple totalitarian/totalitarian-leaning politicians into positions of power and their threat to women’s rights.

On the show and in the book, the handmaids wear distinct red cloaks with white bonnets and women have taken to wearing replicas of the costume at protests. And it’s not just American women who are wearing them. As the Guardian reports, women in Ireland donned The Handmaid’s Tale costume during a rally by pro-choice activists in Northern Ireland during a referendum on abortion earlier this year. In London, the red cloaks and bonnets were also worn to protest Donald Trump’s visit to the city, the Guardian also notes.

In Argentina, protestors donned the costume at an abortion rights protest in Buenos Aires, the Associated Press reports. The women walked in silence just like the handmaids do in the show and in the book.

“The handmaid’s costume has been adopted by women in many countries as a symbol of protest about various issues having to do with the requisitioning of women’s bodies by the state,” Atwood said in an interview with the Guardian. “Because it’s a visual symbol, women can use it without fear of being arrested for causing a disturbance, as they would be for shouting in places like legislatures.”

On a lighter note, the costume has also been used for satire. As the Inquisitr previously reported, social media users used their photo editing skills to add white bonnets to Melania Trump’s red Christmas trees at the White House.

The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, will be released in September 2019.