Bedford’s Rogan’s Books is putting the town’s independent retailers in the spotlight again after being selected as one of the bookshops to help launch a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale.
The Castle Lane bookshop is just one of two UK independent bookshops partnering with Penguin for the launch of The Testaments, Margaret Atwood’s long-awaited sequel to her 1985 book The Handmaid’s Tale.
“If 17-year-old me knew she’d one day be part of the launch for the sequel of her favourite book, she’d be vibrating with excitement. Her 41 year old self totally is,” said Rachael Rogan, owner of Rogan’s Books.
Rachael has plans for a midnight launch on 10 September, beginning with a lantern-lit parade of handmaids through Bedford.
They’ll walk along Bedford’s Embankment passing The Castle mound and the eerie Castle ruins before turning into Castle Lane.
Just before midnight, the procession will arrive at Rogan’s Books to striking window displays.
Guests will then hear a reading from the first chapter and sample Handmaid’s Tale themed refreshments.
There will also be a limited number of signed copies available from Rogan’s Books.
“It is a huge honour to be involved in the launch of The Testaments,” said Rachael.
“Since being televised, there has been a huge resurgence of popularity of The Handmaid’s Tale.
“We are very excited to play a part in the sequel and are looking forward to creating an event with a difference for the book-lovers of Bedford”.
Vintage independent bookshops manager Kate Gunning said: “From the minute we announced the publication of The Testaments, independent booksellers have been hugely enthusiastic and creative in their support, and none more so than Rogan’s Books.”
The Testaments, which has been long listed for this year’s Booker Prize, is set 15 years after Offred stepped into the unknown at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale.
The sequel follows the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.
Events are planned across the country to mark publication day, with Atwood attending the midnight opening of Waterstones Picaddily.
She’ll then appear on cinema screens across the UK for ‘Margaret Atwood: Live in Cinemas’.
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood will be published by Vintage imprint Chatto & Windus.