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Margaret Atwood's The Testaments

Independent bookshops across the country applied for a prize fund provided by VINTAGE, in partnership with Index on Censorship, to support the biggest and best idea to celebrate publication of The Testaments, the long-awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, published 10th September. 

VINTAGE were particularly impressed by the entries from Red Lion Books and Rogan’s Books, who will divide the £750 fund equally. 

Red Lion Books in Colchester will host a midnight launch for The Testaments on 9th September. They are inviting customers to submit personal and anonymous testaments of when they have experienced forms of prejudice. These testaments will be read by an actor. They will use the prize fund to create props, make bonnets and provide refreshments, as well as advertising the event on social media. 

Rogan’s Books, a specialist independent feminist and children’s bookshop in Bedford, also plan a midnight launch for The Testaments on 9th September. They are arranging a lantern-lit parade of handmaids through Bedford, passing landmarks such as the Embankment, the river, the wall and the eerie Castle ruins. Just before midnight, the procession will arrive at Rogan’s Books to striking window displays, a reading from the first chapter and Handmaid’s Tale themed refreshments. 

Kate Gunning, Independent Bookshops Manager at VINTAGE says: ‘From the minute we announced the publication of The Testaments, independent booksellers have been hugely enthusiastic and creative in their support, and none more so than Red Lion Books and Rogan’s Books, the two deserved winners of our competition for bookshops to win funding for their own launch activities for the book. A big thank-you to all of those who entered, and congratulations to the two brilliant winners.’ 

In addition to the winner of the prize fund, many independent bookshops across the country are planning midnight openings, window displays and street processions to celebrate publication of The Testaments and Banned Books Week. It’s not too late to get involved! 

For all enquiries please contact Fran Owen and Mari Yamazaki, Publicity Directors of Chatto & Windus: yamazakiowen@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk or Alison Davies, Publicity Manager: adavies1@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk 

NOTES ——————————————————————————————————

About The Testaments 

When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead. 

With The Testaments, the wait is over. 

Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story 15 years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead. 

‘Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.’ Margaret Atwood 

Sign up to The Atwood Diaries newsletter for breaking news about the book: https://www.penguin.co.uk/margaretatwood 

About Margaret Atwood Margaret Atwood is the author of more than fifty books of fiction, poetry and critical essays. Her novels include Cat’s Eye, The Robber Bride, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin and the MaddAddam Trilogy. Her 1985 classic The Handmaid’s Tale went back into the bestseller charts with the election of Donald Trump, when the Handmaids became a symbol of resistance against him; and the 2017 release of the award-winning Channel 4 TV series. Sales of the English language edition have now topped 8 million copies worldwide. 

Atwood has won numerous awards including the Booker Prize, the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Imagination in Service to Society, the Franz Kafka Prize, the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade and the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award. She has also worked as a cartoonist, illustrator, librettist, playwright and puppeteer. She lives in Toronto, Canada. 

For all enquiries please contact Fran Owen and Mari Yamazaki, Publicity Directors of Chatto & Windus: yamazakiowen@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk or Alison Davies, Publicity Manager: adavies1@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk 

About VINTAGE VINTAGE publishes some of the greatest writers and thinkers from around the world and across the ages – from Philip Roth, Yuval Harari, Haruki Murakami and Alice Munro to Ian McEwan, Jeanette Winterson and Salman Rushdie. Writers who have invented new worlds and explored our own; who have captured imaginations and won dozens of prizes, from the Nobel and the Booker to the Pulitzer and beyond. 

Born in New York in 1974 and moving to London in 1990, VINTAGE is also famed for its beautiful, stylish design and brave innovation. The publisher comprises nine imprints, each one as distinctive as its own past: Jonathan Cape, Bodley Head, Harvill Secker, Chatto & Windus, Hogarth, Yellow Jersey, Square Peg, VINTAGE Paperbacks and VINTAGE Classics. 

About Index on Censorship Index on Censorship is a nonprofit organisation that fights for free expression and defends against censorship worldwide through an award-winning magazine, regular events and advocacy. Founded in 1972, Index has published work by censored writers and poets including Salman Rushdie, Kurt Vonnegut, Arthur Miller; Nobel Prize Winning authors Nadine Gordimer and Wole Soykinka; contemporary writers and campaigners including Ian Rankin, Lily Cole, Hilary Mantel and of course Index Patron Margaret Atwood. More information: www.indexoncensorship.org 

About Banned Books Week UK Banned Books Week UK (22-28 September 2019) is a week-long celebration of the freedom to read co-ordinated by Index on Censorship in partnership with literary and freedom of expression organisations in the UK including the Booksellers Association. Banned Books Week was initiated by the American Library Association (ALA) in 1982 in response to an increasing number of challenges in the US to books in schools, libraries and bookshops. The ALA lists The Handmaid’s Tale as number 37 out of “100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-2000.” More information: www.bannedbooksweek.org.uk 

For all enquiries please contact Fran Owen and Mari Yamazaki, Publicity Directors of Chatto & Windus: yamazakiowen@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk or Alison Davies, Publicity Manager: adavies1@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk 

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