How to write a Booker contender – by Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie and others

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Where do Booker-prize authors find their inspiration? The authors on the 2019 shortlist reveal the secrets behind their novels

In The Handmaid’s Tale, we left Offred here: “The van waits in the driveway, its double doors stand open. The two of them, one on either side now, take me by the elbows to help me in. Whether this is my end or a new beginning I have no way of knowing: I have given myself over into the hands of strangers, because it can’t be helped. And so I step up, into the darkness within; or else the light.” When readers were asking for a sequel, So The Testaments is a sequel, but not the kind that was once expected – even by me. That was the narrative thread they wanted me to pick up. But it would have been impossible for me to recreate that voice, so I kept saying no. Then I saw that another approach to the world of Gilead might be possible: a later time, different voices.

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