The author behind the book and cult TV series The Handmaid's Tale says its long-awaited sequel was prompted by a deterioration of women's rights in some parts of the world.
Bonnet-clad handmaids wandered through London on Tuesday (September 10) night to mark the book release.
The works are set in a dystopian future where most women have become infertile.
The few that can have kids? Forced by a theocracy into sexual slavery -- the so-called "handmaids."
This was author Margaret Atwood on Monday (September 9):
(SOUNDBITE) (English) AUTHOR, MARGARET ATWOOD, SAYING:
"There is a large assortment of countries where laws have either not been changed, in unequal laws having to do with women, or they have been brought back. And there are other places in the world where things have moved in the other direction and that would be Ireland most specifically, Argentina almost, so there is movement both ways."
The sequel is called "The Testaments." Atwood says she was already conceptualising it when Donald Trump was elected as U.S. President.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) AUTHOR, MARGARET ATWOOD, ON THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE TRUMP ELECTION, SAYING:
"Everyone in the show ('The Handmaid's Tale'), which had started filming in early September, everyone in the show woke up on November 9th and said we're in a different show - not that the show changed. It didn't, but the frame around the show changed, and we knew at that moment that it would be viewed differently, which it was. So instead of fantasy - 'ha ha, this will never happen' -- it got a lot closer to reality. (REPORTER ASKS WHY?) Well, because of the kinds of people backing Trump -- that would be the religious right of the red states -- and because of his generally unhelpful attitude towards women."
Fans gathered in London at midnight on Tuesday to hear her read from her new book.
The Handmaid's Tale is often used as a rallying symbol of progressive women's rights activists.