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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ releases fireproof edition ‘because powerful words can never be extinguished’

By SAAB LARIOSA Published May 26, 2022 6:51 pm

The 1985 classic dystopian novel The Handmaid's Tale is getting a new edition—and it’s taking a quite literal stand against book burning and censorship.

Printed on fire-resistant paper and bound with a flame retardant cover, the new edition brought by Penguin Random House is impossible to burn, as it was once the target of library banning in the United States.

In case you didn't know, The Handmaid's Tale follows the dystopian world of Gilead where women are only seen as child-birthing properties. It remains an important commentary on women’s rights and male supremacy.

In the release video, author Margaret Atwood can be seen using a flame thrower on the new edition, which remains unfazed and readable as ever.

In a statement, the 89-year-old writer said she never saw herself trying to destroy her well-loved book: "I never thought I'd be trying to burn one of my own books... and failing."

"The Handmaid's Tale has been banned many times, sometimes by whole countries such as Portugal and Spain in the days of Salazar and the Francoists, sometimes by school boards, sometimes by libraries," Atwood added.

"Let's hope we don't reach the stage of wholesale book burnings, as in Fahrenheit 45. 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."

Serving as a one-of-a-kind collector's edition, the "Unburnable Book" will be on exhibition at the fine art house Sotheby's in New York starting June 3. It will then be auctioned off to the highest bidder on June 7.

Proceeds from the auction will be donated to PEN America, a nonprofit organization fighting for freedom of expression through literature.