Vintage and Index on Censorship are calling on independent bookshops to coordinate creative publication events for Margaret Atwood’s The Testaments, the much-anticipated sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale in September with a chance to win £750 to fund the best ideas.
“Inspired by our friends Book-ish in Crickhowell, Index on Censorship and Vintage are coordinating a nationwide series of publication-day celebrations and midnight openings at independent bookshops across the UK as part of Banned Books Week UK to celebrate the publication” of the book, a release circulated to all Bookseller Association members reads.
Atwood’s sequel will be published on 10th September, picking up the story 15 years after Offred stepped into the unknown in The Handmaid’s Tale (published in 1985), with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead. Vintage will publish under its Chatto & Windus imprint on 10th September, priced £20.
“We would like to support all independent bookshops marking the publication of The Testaments,” Vintage's circular reads. “You could open your doors after hours to booklovers on publication night, and, as the clock strikes midnight, sell copies of The Testaments. Or perhaps you could host celebrations on publication day – you could ask a local author to take part in live readings or a discussion, run a feminist banned-book quiz, have a The Testaments themed party or stage an anti-Gilead protest.”
Not-for-profit group Index on Censorship, which promotes freedom of expression, and Vintage will provide point-of-sale materials such as promotional posters, badges and tote bags for window and in-store displays.
The most creative ideas could win £750 from Vintage which suggests “a handmaid procession through the streets or creating your own Mayday resistance squad…Go as BIG as you dare.”
Booksellers should send a brief event pitch, on one one side of A4, outlining what they want to do, how, and cost to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line ‘The Testaments publication celebration’. The deadline to apply is 30 April and Vintage will notify applicants in May.
The news follows a protest staged by Vintage at The London Book Fair earlier this month.
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