Handmaid's Tale season 2 episode 1

Margaret Atwood will publish a sequel to The Handmaid's Tale in 2019

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Nov 28, 2018, 11:43 AM EST (Updated)

A sequel to The Handmaid's Tale is on the way. Margaret Atwood announced early Wednesday morning that she will publish a sequel to her acclaimed novel, one of the most influential and acclaimed dystopian stories ever written, in 2019.

Titled The Testaments, the story will be set 15 years after the original novel, and will be narrated by three different female characters.

"Everything you've ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book," Atwood said in her announcement. "Well, almost everything!

"The other inspiration is the world we've been living in."

First published in 1985, The Handmaid's Tale is the story of Offred, a woman living as a "handmaiden" in Gilead, a patriarchal totalitarian state that overthrew the United States government and now uses women as vessels for breeding. The novel is still celebrated for its realism, themes, and feminist perspective, and its relevance to modern life is still discussed more than three decades after its publication.

This was further emphasized when The Handmaid's Tale TV series — which adapts and expands on Atwood's novel — debuted in April of 2017 on Hulu. The series has been honored with critical acclaim, Golden Globes, and Emmy Awards, and has made the image of the handmaiden with her red cloak and white bonnet a pop culture icon representing the oppression of women. The Hulu series was renewed for a third season earlier this year.

Now Atwood will use that spotlight on her universe to give us more of the story, shining a light on Gilead in ways we haven't imagined before, and perhaps telling us even more frightening things about what our future might hold. 

The Testaments arrives in September 2019.