Ahead of Cardiff Book Talk’s discussion of The Testaments, with Teresa Baron, Emma Sullivan-Bissett and Diana Wallace, here’s Margaret Atwood talking to the Guardian last September, on Brexit, heroism and television adaptations.
“You are in chaos,” Margaret Atwood decrees calmly over tea. “It’s Cavaliers versus Roundheads.” We meet in London, the afternoon before she is due at Waterstones in Piccadilly to sell the first copy of The Testaments, the long awaited sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, at midnight, accompanied by women in the now globally recognised handmaids’ costumes. Further up the river, Westminster is shutting down for five weeks. Ever since Boris Johnson raised the prospect of proroguing parliament, people have been sharing a quote from The Handmaid’s Tale, published 35 years ago, just as they did in the US following the election of Donald Trump in 2016: “That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn’t even any rioting in the streets. People stayed at home at night, watching television.”