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11/28/2018 12:39 EST | Updated 11/28/2018 12:57 EST

'The Testaments,' A Sequel To 'The Handmaid's Tale,' Is Coming In 2019

Today's world has inspired an update to the 33-year-old novel.

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Organizers arrange copies of Margaret Atwood's book 'The Handmaid's Tale' during the Interactive 'The Handmaid's Tale' Art Installation Opening at The High Line on April 26, 2017 in New York City.

Thirty-three years after the publication of the classic dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood has announced she's writing a sequel.

The Testaments will be released on Sept. 10, 2019. The acclaimed 79-year-old author made the announcement on Twitter on Wednesday morning.

It's hard to live in 2018 without already knowing this, but The Handmaid's Tale takes place in a dystopian not-so-distant-future version of New England called Gilead. The rule of law is totalitarian biblical literalism, and the narrator Offred is one of several "handmaids" who are forced to bear children for upper-class couples who can't have their own.

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Margaret Atwood arrives at the Hammer Museum Gala in the Garden on Oct. 14, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.

The novel famously ends on a cliffhanger, with the narrator, Offred, being carted off from the house where she's a "handmaid" into a mysterious van. She doesn't know if she'll be rescued by the resistance, or if she'll be imprisoned or killed. But the ending hints that the regime may not last forever — after Offred's exit, we're transported into the future, where a group of academic types discuss the oral culture of Gilead.

Details about the new novel are fairly sparse so far, but Atwood says that it's set 15 years after Offred's final scene and that it will be narrated by three female characters.

KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI via Getty Images
Women angered by the bitter fight over a US Supreme Court nominee and what they called the 'anti-woman agenda' of the Trump administration headed into the streets of Chicago on Saturday in a display of political might. Dressing in the iconic red "handmaid's" outfit has become a recognizable protest of the treatment of women.

The acclaimed TV adaptation of the show has gone far beyond the source material — the first season ends with the van abduction, but the second season explores new storylines, and a third season has been announced. Penguin Canada, Atwood's publisher, has specified that The Testaments is not connected to the TV version of The Handmaid's Tale.

In a reader's note on her publisher's website, Atwood assured readers that "everything you've ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book."

"The other inspiration is the world we've been living in."

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