The Handmaid’s Tale Sequel, Puerto Rico Center for the Book, and More


Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today’s stories.

More than thirty years after the release of The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood is writing a sequel. The Testaments, which will take place fifteen years after the 1985 novel left off and will be told from the perspective of three women characters, is scheduled for publication in September 2019. In a press release Atwood said, “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.” (NPR)

Booksellers are reporting concerns about keeping books in stock for the holiday season. Publishers report that printing capacity has become an increased issue—in part due to difficulties obtaining paper at a reasonable cost and the looming threat of tariffs on paper—and have been advising booksellers to stock up, especially on best-sellers. (Publishers Weekly)

“The time I was just hugging my parents I was thinking, I wish I could stop all clocks all over the world.” At a library on the U.S.–Canada border, straddling Vermont and Quebec, Iranian families separated by the Trump administration’s travel ban are being reunited. (Reuters)

The University of Puerto Rico in San Juan will establish the first Puerto Rico Center for the Book next year. The new center, which will highlight Puerto Rican books and authors, will be the fifty-third affiliate of the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book program, a network of U.S. sites promoting reading and literacy. U.S. poet laureate Tracy K. Smith will appear at a launch event for the new center in January. (Library of Congress)

Irish author Sally Rooney’s novel Normal People has been named the Waterstones book of the year. The prize is given by booksellers at Waterstones, the largest bookstore chain in the UK, for their most recommended book of the year. (Guardian)

“Most women I know spend their days in a roiling sea of anger and sadness, constantly agitated by a news cycle in which misogyny is on near-constant display.” At BuzzFeed Reader, Kristen Evans highlights three recent thrillers by women about female rage, including Megan Abbott’s Give Me Your Hand, Oyinkan Braithwaite’s My Sister, the Serial Killer, and Adrienne Celt’s Invitation to a Bonfire.

Read more about Braithwaite and her debut novel in a recent installment of Poets & Writers’ Q&A series Ten Questions.

In the latest installment of By the Book, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s Ellie Kemper, author of the essay collection My Squirrel Days, discusses the books on her nightstand, her favorite writers, and her fantasy reading experience—which involves a 7:45 PM bedtime. (New York Times)