Margaret Atwood's 'Handmaid's Tale' Sequel Is Already Racking Up Award Nominations
On Wednesday, The Booker Prizes released the 2019 "Booker Dozen," a longlist of 13 books in the running for this year's Booker Prize. One of 151 English-language novels submitted in contention for the award, The Handmaid's Tale sequel might win the Booker Prize this year. Margaret Atwood's The Testaments is out on Sep. 10, just 20 days ahead of the Booker Prize's Sep. 30 cutoff date for consideration, but it could win one of the most coveted awards in English-language fiction when the 2019 Booker Prize winner is announced on Oct. 14.
Each year, the Booker Prize — previously known as the Man Booker Prize — awards a £50,000 cash prize "to the author of the best, eligible full-length novel in the opinion of the [five] judges" chosen by The Booker Prize Foundation Literary Director Gaby Wood. This year's judges were Peter Florence (Hay Festival), Liz Calder (Full Circle Editions), Xiaolu Guo (A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers), Afua Hirsch (The Guardian), and Joanna MacGregor (University of London).
The Booker is open to any full-length work of fiction that is written originally in English and published in the UK or Ireland between Oct. 1 of the previous year and Sep. 30 of the prize year. A second award, the International Booker Prize, deals in works of fiction in translation. The six books on the Booker Prize shortlist will be named on Sep. 3, when their authors will receive £2,500 each. Recent Booker Prize winners include Milkman by Anna Burns, Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, and The Sellout by Paul Beatty.
The sequel to Margaret Atwood's famous 1985 novel, The Testaments will pick up 15 years after the close of The Handmaid's Tale — which ended Offred's story with a dramatic event that was either her capture by the Eyes or her rescue by Mayday — with the testimonies of three women from Gilead. The book will not be connected to Hulu's television adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale, which has diverged from the events of the novel in order to continue telling the stories of Offred and the other Handmaids.
Although The Testaments might win the 2019 Booker Prize, it has some stiff competition. The other books on this year's longlist are:
- Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry
- My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
- Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellmann
- Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
- The Wall by John Lanchester
- The Man Who Saw Everything by Deborah Levy
- Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli
- An Orchestra of Minorities by Chigozie Obioma
- Lanny by Max Porter
- Quichotte by Salman Rushdie
- 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak
- Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson
The winner of the 2019 Booker Prize will be announced at London's Guildhall on Oct. 14.