Less than two weeks after turning 79, the prolific author and newfound streaming maven Margaret Atwood confirmed via Twitter on Wednesday morning that she's been writing a sequel to The Handmaid's Tale, her chilling 1985 novel about a near-future dystopia in what was once New England, which a toxic environment, a cruel theocracy, and a plague of infertility have combined to transform the land into Gilead—a totalitarian society that, in turn, has transformed a sector of women into handmaids, aka enslaved concubines.
And, as the show's proven over the past year, interest hasn't wavered since: by its first season, Hulu's version of the The Handmaid's Tale, made in collaboration with Atwood, became the first show from a streaming service to win an Emmy for Best Drama; by its second season, the number of viewers tuning in to its season premieres had doubled, reaching high enough numbers for Hulu to renew it for a third season, shortly after the second kicked off.
Having popped up everywhere from South by Southwest to the Texas Senate, it's now a go-to uniform for protesting increasing threats to issues like environmental conservation and reproductive rights. (As well as, for better or for worse, a new method of marketing campaign. ) As for accessories, a protest sign reading "Make Margaret Atwood Fiction Again" has proven particularly popular.
Thirty-four years may have passed since then, but it's no mystery why Atwood has chosen the present day as the time to return to Gilead: the world in fact joined her in doing so nearly two years ago, finding the trailer of the novel's then-upcoming TV adaptation timely enough to send the decades-old novel shooting right back up to the top of the bestsellers lists.
Margaret Atwood is returning to Gilead. https://t.co/h5IVGKIK4p— W magazine (@wmag) June 5, 2019