NEW YORK • For decades, fans of Margaret Atwood's dystopian classic, The Handmaid's Tale, have been demanding a sequel.
For years, she has demurred.
But now, Atwood has decided to continue the tale, more than three decades after it was first published.
On Wednesday, she announced that she would publish The Testaments in September next year.
Set 15 years after the final scene of The Handmaid's Tale, the novel features three female narrators.
Atwood said she decided to return to the story not just because of her voracious fans, but also because she wanted to explore the eerie parallels between her imagined dystopia and the current political climate.
"Dear Readers: Everything you've ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book," she said.
"Well, almost everything.
"The other inspiration is the world we've been living in."
Buoyed by a critically acclaimed television series, the novel has sold more than three million copies in the last two years.
The Handmaid's Tale, which takes place in a futuristic theocratic state called Gilead where women are treated as property and used as reproductive serfs, has become almost a cultural shorthand for patriarchal oppression.
Atwood had often said that her novel is based not on some horrific vision of the future, but on real historical eras in which women were denied basic rights, as well as current theocratic patriarchal societies around the world.