Books

Margaret Atwood's sequel to The Handmaid's Tale, The Testaments, longlisted for 2019 Booker Prize

The Booker Prize annually recognizes the best English-language novel published in the U.K. The Testaments will be published in Canada on Sept. 10.
Margaret Atwood is the author of The Testaments. (McClelland & Stewart)

Margaret Atwood's forthcoming novel, The Testaments, is among the 13 titles longlisted for the 2019 Booker Prize.

The award, worth £50,000 (approx. $86,990 Cdn), annually recognizes the best original novel written in the English language published in the U.K.

The Testaments is a sequel to Atwood's iconic 1985 novel The Handmaid's Tale. It is set 15 years after the original, which followed Offred, a handmaid whose sole purpose was to get pregnant with the child of the family she was serving. Offred wasn't always a handmaid, though, and the book ends with her future left unknown to readers. 

The Testaments has not yet been published. It will be released worldwide on Sept. 10. Books published between Oct. 1, 2018 and Sept. 30, 2019 were eligible for this year's award.

The novel is not connected to the later seasons of The Handmaid's Tale TV adaptation. Instead, it will contain "explosive testaments" from three women, according to the website announcing the book. 

This marks the sixth time Atwood has been recognized by the U.K. prize. She won the prize in 2000 for her novel The Blind Assassin and was nominated in 1989 for Cat's Eye, 1986 for The Handmaid's Tale, 1996 for Alias Grace and 2003 for Oryx and Crake.

No other Canadians made the 2019 longlist.

The other titles longlisted are:

The longlist was selected from 151 novels published in the U.K. or Ireland.

The 2019 judges include Hay Festival founder Peter Florence, former editor Liz Calder, novelist and filmmaker Xiaolu Guo, writer and broadcaster Afua Hirsch and conductor and composer Joanna MacGregor.

The shortlist will be announced on Sept. 3. The winner will be announced on Oct. 14.

Last year's winner was Northern Irish writer Anna Burns for the novel Milkman.

Two other Canadians other than Atwood have won the prize since its inception in 1969: Michael Ondaatje in 1992 for The English Patient and Yann Martel in 2002 for Life of Pi.

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