Last year we discussed THE HANDMAID’S TALE at book club. Having been published over 30 years ago, this was a second or even third reading for some people. The sequel was highly anticipated. In conjunction with the independent bookshop, Red Lion Books, we celebrated the release of THE TESTAMENTS with candlelight readings. An actor read from both books as well as reading anonymous testaments submitted by customers. The testaments were stories of prejudice or injustice. This was an extremely powerful and ultimately uplifting event. Words are so important and it was a privilege to hear shared stories.
Red Lion Books received a grant from Vintage Books / Index on Censorship.
Huge thanks to actor, Nicola Goodchild (her Instagram comments are below)
Last night I had the privilege of being part of a very special evening.
Our local independent cherished book shop won a competition to host a launch event for the release of Margaret Atwood’s sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, Testaments. Margaret Atwood herself chose the 2 winning ideas from bookshops around the country.
Guests met at Red Lion Books and were presented with a sealed brown bag containing the new Attwood book Testaments. They were given a glass of wine and then a jam jar lantern with a string handle. Then in a procession of pairs, they walked to cool pub venue the Three Wise Monkeys to the top floor where the room was also candlelit and playing some of the ambient music from the Handmaid’s Tale tv series. After an introduction from Peter, the owner
I entered from the back through the audience in full Handmaid costume and took a book from my plain Handmaid bag. From that book, I read a piece from The Handmaid’s Tale then removed the bonnet and read the deeply personal anonymous ‘testaments’ from people who had sent them in. Some of the writers of testaments were in the room.
Thought-provoking, shocking, amusing, and a couple of tales of redemption after pain. Different voices, different accents, different characters throughout.
Finally, as another more ominous piece of music came in, I invited the guests to open their bags and take out their books, where they also found a hand made card with a fact or statistic about prejudice or injustice around the world. A few people stood and read theirs out. Then I put the bonnet back on and read the opening passages of Testaments. It was very special. Afterwards, a few of the writers came forward to thank me for reading their testament. That was very moving too.
Thanks to JO COLDWELL for inviting me to be the person to give voice to the testaments. It was a real privilege. xx
Here is a lovely review found on social media
AN AMAZING REVIEW OF LAST NIGHT @vintagebooks
Thank you @2_lula_2
Posted @withrepost • @2_lula_2“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.” (Don’t let the bastards grind you down.) —
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale.
I consider myself so lucky to be able to have attended the event of a lifetime in Colchester tonight. Today was the publication date of ‘The Testaments’ by Margaret Atwood, the sequel to ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, and bookstore everywhere were doing events to celebrate, @redlionbooks in Colchester did a candlelight vigil where extracts of both books were read by an actress dressed as a Handmaid as well as the testaments of real people, women and men who had experienced prejudices against them for countless reasons, including gender, race and sexuality. It was a raw and emotional night and I am honoured to have been apart of it. The event was incredible! Indescribable in the best way possible! And I cannot tell you how blown away I am by everything that Red Lion Books planned. Thank you for an unforgettable experience! #feministandproud #feminist#feminism #margaretatwood#thetestaments #thehandmaidstale#colchester #redlionbooks#redlionbookscolchester #books#bookstagram #instabook