Margaret Atwood Announces Unburnable Edition of The Handmaid’s Tale

Up for auction through June 7th, all proceeds go to PEN America's work in support of free expression.

margaret atwood handmaids tale unburnable edition penguin random house
Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale unburnable edition

    Unfortunately, much of the dystopian future Margaret Atwood imagined in The Handmaid’s Tale has been reflected in our current reality. In spite of its merits, the novel has often been at the center of growing book bans, and Atwood has responded with an unburnable edition announced with a kickass video of the author using a flamethrower. Watch the announcement below.

    Published through Penguin Random House, the one-off run will be auctioned through Sotheby’s New York through June 7th, with all proceeds going to the nonprofit organization PEN America, which works to defend free expression across the US and worldwide.

    The concept for the fireproof edition was created by Robbie Percy and Caroline Friesen at the Rethink creative agency, who came up with the idea when they heard about hundreds of books being potentially banned from Texas school libraries.


    To bring the idea to life, Toronto graphic arts and bookbinding specialty studio The Gas Company Inc. used a specially treated aluminum product called Cinefoil and then sewed the manuscript together with nickel copper wire. Gas Company owner Doug Laxdal told AP that the book could only be destroyed with a shredder — perhaps the next edition of The Handmaid’s Tale can tackle that issue?

    Place a bid for an unburnable copy of The Handmaid’s Tale here.

    Of course, The Handmaid’s Tale remains as topical as ever, with the US Supreme Court expected to overturn Roe v. Wade later this year. Hulu’s Elisabeth Moss-starring adaptation was renewed for a fifth season in December 2020, and Atwood’s 2019 sequel, The Testaments, is also headed for the streamer.

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