Margaret Atwood's fireproof 'The Handmaid's Tale' to be auctioned in New York
"The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood has been embroiled in controversy since its release. The book, which was first published in 1985, was banned in a number of places around the world for decades and burning of the book was quite common at one point of time due to its unconventional subject matter and controversial statements. As a result, it is fitting that Atwood and publisher Penguin Random House has chosen to auction an “unburnable” edition of the famous book to raise awareness for increased censorship and book-banning in places all around the United States.
The proceeds will go towards a literary advocacy group called PEN America who recently published a report that 1,586 books were banned by schools around the US between July 2021 and March 2022.
The “unburnable” copy will be one of its kind and it was tested by Atwood herself with an actual flamethrower. The novel, which speaks of a dystopian world order where women are subjugated, will be auctioned by Sotheby's New York on Wednesday with a high estimate of $100,000.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” was also one of the books which were banned in certain schools because of its controversial subject matters, according to CNN.
"'The Handmaid's Tale' has been banned many times," Atwood said in a press release. "Let's hope we don't reach the stage of wholesale book burnings, as in 'Fahrenheit 451'," she added, referencing the acclaimed 1953 novel in which books are destroyed to preserve a totalitarian version of America. "But if we do, let's hope some books will prove unburnable -- that they will travel underground, as prohibited books did in the Soviet Union."