The 3 things that inspired Margaret Atwood to write The Handmaid's Tale

The Handmaid's Tale was written in 1985, but it's as popular as ever, thanks to a TV adaptation and the current political climate.
Margaret Atwood published The Handmaid's Tale in 1985. (Aaron Vincent Elkaim/Canadian Press/Emblem Editions)

Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale was originally published in 1985 and its surprising cultural and political resonance in 2017 has brought it back to bestseller lists. A television adaptation of the novel starring Elisabeth Moss and airing on Bravo has garnered 13 Emmy nominations, including outstanding drama series.

What inspired Atwood to write this book more than 30 years ago? She revealed all to Indigo in a recent interview, which you can watch in the video player below.

A sequel to The Handmaid's Tale is coming out in Sept. 2019. It will be called The Testaments and will be set 15 years after the original story.

1. 17th-century American Puritan theocracy

"America was not initially founded as an 18th-century enlightenment republic. It was initially a 17th-century theocracy. That tendency keeps bubbling up in America from time to time."

2. Utopias and dystopias

"I always wanted to write one, just to see if I could. The ones that I had been reading pretty much always had male narrators. I wondered how it would look if you switched that around."

3. The political climate of the early 1980s

"People, even back then, were saying what they would like to do, should they ever have a chance to take power. Now that faction is in power in the United States."


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