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Books Unbound – The Handmaid’s Tale, Part 19 of 20


“The Handmaid’s Tale” is set in a dystopian future Cambridge, Massachusetts that, following a revolution, is now a part of the theocratic Republic of Gilead, Atwood’s novel, published in 1985, is narrated by a thirty-year-old woman, called Offred. Writing after the Islamic Revolution in Iran in 1979 and the rise of fundamentalist television evangelism and the Christian Coalition, Atwood imagined a world in which some women had become “walking wombs” in service of the state. The novel won the Arthur C. Clark Award in 1987 and provides a devastating rebuttal to arguments for state control of a woman’s body. It is among the 100 most challenged books in US schools. A warning to our listeners: This work contains adult language and subject matter which may not be appropriate for younger audiences.

About this author: Born in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on November 18, 1939, Margaret Eleanor Atwood is an award-winning writer who has published over fifteen volumes of poetry, nine collections of short fiction, and twelve novels. Her thirteenth novel and the third book in the “Oryx and Crake” trilogy, “MaddAddam”, will be released on September 3, 2013. She lives in Toronto with her partner, fellow novelist Graeme Gibson. She claims to write “speculative fiction” or “social science fiction” rather than science fiction, because her novels do not contain nonexistent technology. About this program: Books burn; ideas endure. Books Unbound is a weekly showcase of literary works banned by those who fear the power of the pen. The program promotes literary reading and curiosity, challenging listeners to consider viewpoints that may be different from our own. Each week we bring you literature prohibited by governments, schools, and religious institutions. In the words of French philosopher Emile-Auguste Chartier, “nothing is as dangerous as an idea, when it’s the only one you’ve got.” Books Unbound is a production of community radio WFHB in Bloomington, Indiana.

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