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Laurie Hertzel is senior editor for books at the Star Tribune, where she has worked since 1996.

Margaret Atwood to write 'Handmaid's Tale' sequel

Margaret Atwood. Photo provided by Doubleday.

Margaret Atwood. Photo by Liam Sharp.

Canadian writer Margaret Atwood has announced that she is writing a sequel to her bestselling novel, "The Handmaid's Tale." The sequel, "The Testaments," is set 15 years after the end of "The Handmaid's Tale." It will be published in September 2019 by Doubleday.

Here is what Doubleday -- and Atwood -- said in a press release this morning:  
"THE TESTAMENTS is set 15 years after Offred’s final scene in The Handmaid’s Tale and is narrated by three female characters. It will be published on September 10, 2019 by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday with an announced first printing of 500,000 copies and price of $27.95.  The book will be published in hardcover and as an ebook, and in audio by Penguin Random House; it will be published in trade paper by Anchor the following year.

Margaret Atwood says:  “Dear Readers: 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.”

“I have published Margaret Atwood’s work since 1976 – her poetry, fiction and nonfiction,” says Nan A. Talese.  “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 Handmaid’s Tale has remained in print since its publication thirty-three years ago, due to both Margaret Atwood’s brilliant storytelling and the novel’s prescient themes,” says Sonny Mehta, Editor-in-Chief and Chairman, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group. “It’s a thrill to publish the sequel to a timely, legendary novel, and to return to the Handmaids’ world.”

First published in 1985, The Handmaid’s Tale was shortlisted for the 1986 Booker Prize and eight million copies have been sold globally in the English language.

When Donald Trump was elected in November 2016, Handmaids became a symbol of the movement against him, standing for female empowerment and resistance in the face of misogyny and the rolling back of women’s rights around the world. In 2017 the TV adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale starring Elisabeth Moss and Joseph Fiennes launched in the US on Hulu and Atwood’s novel has spent 88 weeks back on the New York Timesbestseller list. The TV show has been nominated for 18 and won 6 Emmy Awards across two series.  A third series is currently in production.

The Testaments is not connected to the television adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale.

The Testaments will be published simultaneously by Penguin Random House across the English-speaking world: by Chatto & Windus/VINTAGE in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and India; McClelland & Stewart in Canada; and Nan A. Talese/Doubleday in the US."

Atwood was recipient of the 2017 Ivan Sandrof Award from the National Book Critics Circle.

Minneapolis' Coffee House Press wins first National Book Award

Photo by Phineas Lambert

Coffee House Press — Nica Carrillo, from left, Publisher Chris Fischbach, Justin Phillip Reed, Erika Stevens and Mandy Medley — celebrated Reed’s win.

"Indecency," by Justin Phillip Reed, has won the National Book Award for poetry, handing Minneapolis publisher Coffee House Press its first National Book Award.

Other winners Wednesday night were Elizabeth Acevedo for "The Poet X," which won for young people's literature; Yoko Tawarda and translator Margaret Mitsutani, for "The Emissary," which won for best book in translation (a new award this year); Jeffrey C. Stewart for "The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke," winner in nonfiction; and "The Friend," by Sigrid Nunez, winner for fiction. (Read the Star Tribune Books section review here.) 

Graywolf Press of Minneapolis had two finalists: "A Lucky Man," a collection of linked stories by Jamel Brinkley, and "Eye Level," by Jenny Xie.
Brad Barket/Invision/AP 
Isabel Allende attends the 69th National Book Awards Ceremony Ceremony and Benefit Dinner at Cipriani Wall Street on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, in New York. 
Brad Barket/Invision/AP
Host Nick Offerman before the 69th National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner at Cipriani Wall Street on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, in New York. 

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