Margaret Atwood’s novel The Testaments, her long-awaited follow-up to The Handmaid’s Tale, shared the prestigious Booker Prize for Fiction at a ceremony in London last night (October 15).
The literary award was split with Bernardine Evaristo’s Girl, Woman, Other. Evaristo became the first black woman to win the prize.
The Testaments was published last month, 34 years after the release of The Handmaid’s Tale. The popular TV adaptation of the original text starring Elisabeth Moss debuted on Hulu in 2017 and has run for three seasons, with a fourth on the horizon.
The novel sequel is set 15 years after events in The Handmaid’s Tale. The series has outstripped the original source material across its four seasons (Atwood is a consulting producer) but that temporal leap means events in the second book will likely come into play further down the line. MGM and Hulu are jointly developing the second text for TV with showrunner Bruce Miller.
The awarding of this year’s Booker to two authors breaks a convention established after the 1992 prize was split between Michael Ondaatje and Barry Unsworth. From 1993, the rules were changed so only one author could win, but this year’s jury, headed by Peter Florence, opted to ignore that regulation.
In winning, Atwood becomes the fourth author to have won the prize twice following her victory in 2000 with The Blind Assassin. She has been shortlisted a further four times including for The Handmaid’s Tale in 1986. The Testaments is the third sequel to win the award.
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