Dowd and Hawkins to join live Margaret Atwood event for The Testaments

Dowd and Hawkins to join live Margaret Atwood event for The Testaments

"The Handmaid's Tale" star Ann Dowd and Sally Hawkins will join Margaret Atwood as special guests for a live cinema event to mark the publication of The Testaments (Vintage). 

The Booker-shortlisted sequel to The Handmaid's Tale will be published on Tuesday 10th September with Atwood to take part in a live event on the Lyttelton stage at the National Theatre, which will be shown in 1,300 cinemas worldwide to mark the occasion. 

Emmy Award-winner Dowd, acclaimed for her television role as Aunt Lydia on Hulu's "The Handmaid's Tale" will join two-time Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner Hawkins on the line-up which also includes actress Lily James.


Sally Hawkins, Ann Dowd and Lily James (© Perou)

The event will include readings, a Q&A between Margaret Atwood and Samira Ahmed and unseen documentary footage. The live event sold out within hours when it was first announced in March, but tickets are still available for over 1,300 live cinema screenings worldwide.

Dowd's involvement follows the news that the character of Aunt Lydia will return in The Testaments. Dowd will also narrates Aunt Lydia’s chapters for the audiobook edition, published by Penguin Random House Audio. 

Hawkins said: “I am very honored to be asked to take part in this event. I first picked up one of Margaret Atwood's books in my teens - it was The Robber Bride. I had never read anything like it. I will always be inspired and fascinated by her. Her stories are as if from another time, maybe somewhere in the future or from another place entirely and they have been beamed down to our world in order to teach and inspire us. I only hope I can do her words justice!”

In addition to the live event there will be a midnight launch event at Waterstones Piccadilly and a six date in-person tour across the UK and Ireland in October and November.

Booksellers across the UK are gearing up for the biggest publishing event of the year with plans for midnight openings, competitions and special book clubs. As publication day nears, Hulu announced plans to adapt The Testaments for TV. 

The news comes after Amazon US delivered pre-order copies of The Testaments a week early, breaking a global embargo. The novel has been shrouded in secrecy with security measures in place to ensure nothing was leaked ahead of publication day.