The book sequel - which is not connected to Hulu's TV adaptation of Atwood's 1985 dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale - was announced today with the acquisition of US rights by Nan A. Talese/Doubleday and Anchor Books from Karolina Sutton at literary agency Curtis Brown.
The Handmaid's Tale has made waves thanks to its successful adaptation on Hulu, but the original book was published back in 1985, so fans are definitely intrigued to see how the world has changed in that 15-year gap.
Elisabeth Moss appears as Offred in a scene from Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale, which has helped bring a new audience to Atwood's dystopian classic. "Well, nearly everything!" Atwood said Wednesday in a statement. "Everything you've ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, nearly everything! The other inspiration is the world we've been living in", the 79-year-old author said in the release.
"The Handmaid's Tale" has become increasingly popular in recent years, selling eight million copies in English since it was published.
The original novel told the story of Offred, a woman struggling to survive a future in which what was once the USA has become an extremist, oppressive totalitarian regime that denies women basic rights and subjugates them - forcing a class of women, known as "handmaids", to bear children for the ruling men.
In the past few years, many people have been introduced to Atwood's book through Hulu's television adaptation.
The TV series, which is now filming its third season, has also inspired some protesters to wear the signature red hooded cloaks and white bonnets of the characters in public as a symbol of female empowerment and resistance.
The novel ambiguously ended with Offred being placed in a van that will possibly deliver her to freedom outside Gilead.
"Whether this is my end or a new beginning I have no way of knowing", Offred says at the book's end.
Publisher McClelland and Stewart says it will publish The Testaments on September 10, 2019.