March 11, 2019
The launch event for Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale sequel will livestream around the world
by Stephanie DeLuca
No matter how you feel about The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s upcoming sequel to her beloved feminist dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale, one thing is for sure: It’s going to be a big deal.
Details about the launch have started to emerge, and as reported by Mark Brown in The Guardian, “the rock-star arrangements reflect just how anticipated publication of her book, The Testaments, is.” Atwood will launch the book on September 10 with an event at London’s National Theatre that will be streamed worldwide. Broadcaster and author Samira Ahmed will interview Atwood onstage, with their conversation to air in 1,000 movie theaters around the world, including the U.S., the UK, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Joining Atwood and Ahmed on stage will be as yet unannounced special guests.
Atwood announced the news last week, saying, “I can’t be in all the places at once in my analogue body, but I look forward to being with so many readers via the big screen.”
There’s been a bit of debate over whether or not we need a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale—should we let the original stand as it is; is this just a way to capitalize off the success of the recent TV adaptation; will the sequel stand up to the original. But given the times we currently live in—the reign of Donald Trump—you could argue that we need this now more than ever.
Thanks to the TV show, the symbol of the Handmaiden has been adopted by protesters around the world; women have dressed up in the costume and turned up at marches and protests. It seems likely that a prolific novelist will be able to give her readers something of value in her writing, something we can use to help us navigate these modern times.
Atwood’s launch is sure to include conversations about feminism and women living in today’s world. In a nod to the book’s themes of women’s empowerment and equal rights, the festivities are being produced in conjunction with the human-rights group Equality Now. Tickets for the event can be purchased here.
Stephanie DeLuca is the director of publicity at Melville House.