Excitement is building over a possible sequel to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (Houghton Mifflin, 1986; tie-in ed., PRH/Anchor, 2017; OverDrive Sample).
A sly wink from Atwood as well as some additions she wrote for the newly released audiobook version (Audible only; cover at let) have brought speculation from many quarters, including Entertainment Weekly, Flavorwire, The Guardian, io9, New York magazine, and the Canadian entertainment site The Loop,
The original print book ends with a symposium set after the book’s event, reflecting on the dystopian period that came before. The final line comes from one of the presenters, a professor who asks, “Are there any questions?”
In the new Audible edition, Atwood has provided those questions, via an exchange between conference attendees and the professor.
One of the questions concerns how much more information the professor has. He responds:
“We have indeed made some fresh discoveries but I am not yet at liberty to share them … I hope to be able to present the results of our further Gileadian investigations to you at some future date … Give us a year or two and I hope you’ll be pleasantly surprised.”
The Loop asked Atwood if that meant a sequel was in the works and she replied:
“I am in consultation with the Professor, but he is being very cagey about this. He evidently doesn’t want to make any promises before he has finished authenticating his new discoveries.”
So … maybe more will be forthcoming. In the meantime, Atwood has been promoting the audio, saying in a release “I’m delighted to see the novel that I wrote over thirty years ago come alive on new platforms every year. The roots of my original book are in audio — Offred’s story was recorded, not written, and even the ‘Historical Notes’ are a voice — so I was excited to extend the story with additional material meant specifically to be heard. … The Handmaid’s Tale is alive, it seems — and like all living things, it grows and multiplies!”
It is set to multiply in yet another format, on April 26 when the TV adaptation begins streaming on Hulu.