Ann Dowd and Sally Hawkins Announced As Special Guests For Margaret Atwood Live In Cinemas

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Fane Productions has announced Emmy Award-winner Ann Dowd, acclaimed for her television role as Aunt Lydia on Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale, as a special guest for Margaret Atwood Live on 10 September. Dowd was the recipient of the 2017 Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series for the role, and has also been nominated for a Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, and won a Critics Choice Award for her work on the show. Her involvement in Margaret Atwood Live follows news that Aunt Lydia's character will return in The Testaments. Dowd also narrates Aunt Lydia's chapters for the audiobook edition of The Testaments. It was also announced that two-time Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winner Sally Hawkins will make a guest appearance on the evening. Dowd and Hawkins join the previously announced Lily James and Margaret Atwood herself at the event, which takes place on the Lyttelton stage at The National Theatre and is a celebration of the global publication of the Booker-shortlisted The Testaments, Margaret Atwood's highly anticipated sequel to her seminal work, The Handmaid's Tale.

The live event will include readings, a Q&A between Margaret Atwood and Samira Ahmed, and the screening of never-before-seen footage from a documentary on Atwood's life and work. It sold out within hours when it was first announced in March, but tickets are still available for over 1,300 live cinema screenings worldwide.

Sally Hawkins said: "'I am very honored to be asked to take part in this event. I first picked up one of Margaret Atwood's books in my teens - it was The Robber Bride. I had never read anything like it. I will always be inspired and fascinated by her. Her stories are as if from another time, maybe somewhere in the future or from another place entirely and they have been beamed down to our world in order to teach and inspire us. I only hope I can do her words justice!"

Sally Hawkins was recently finished filming A Boy Called Christmas for Studio Canal and Netflix and her latest release will be Eternal Beauty, which has its premiere at the London Film Festival next month.

Lily James has just finished shooting Ben Wheatley's Rebecca for Working Title and Netflix and was most recently seen on stage starring in Ivo van Hove's All About Eve.

Alex Fane said: "The Testaments is quite possibly the most highly anticipated sequel of all time, and it's amazing to think that people all over the world will be able to mark the occasion by joining us in cinemas in over 1,300 cinemas across the globe, including the UK, the US, Canada, Malta, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland plus delayed screenings in Australia, and New Zealand."

In addition to the live event there will be a midnight launch event at Waterstones Piccadilly and a six date in-person tour across the UK and Ireland in October and November.

The audiobook edition of The Testaments publishes alongside the hardback on 10th September and stars Bryce Dallas Howard, Mae Whitman and Derek Jacobi alongside Ann Dowd.

The publication of Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale in 1985 and the current, Emmy Award-winning television series have created a cultural phenomenon, as handmaids have become a symbol of women's rights and a protest against misogyny and oppression. In this brilliant sequel, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood answers the questions that have tantalized readers for decades. When the van door slammed on Offred's future at the end of The Handmaid's Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead. Margaret Atwood's sequel The Testaments picks up the story fifteen years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.

'Dear Readers: Everything you've ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we've been living in.' Margaret Atwood

The Testaments will be published by Chatto & Windus, an imprint of VINTAGE, on 10 September. The audiobook will be published by Penguin Random House Audio and will be available in digital download or CD. To listen to a free download of the audiobook, please contact Helena Sheffield: hsheffield@penguinrandomhouse.co.uk

Fane Productions' live cinema broadcast is Executive Produced by David Sabel, the creator of National Theatre Live, with BY Experience, the New York based event cinema pioneer, global distribution representative of The Met: Live in HD and the global (ex-UK) distributor of National Theatre Live, distributing to cinemas, ex-UK. UK cinema distribution by National Theatre Live.

Margaret Atwood is the author of more than fifty books of fiction, poetry and critical essays. Her novels include Cat's Eye, The Robber Bride, Alias Grace, The Blind Assassin and the MaddAddam Trilogy. Her 1985 classic The Handmaid's Tale went back into the bestseller charts with the election of Donald Trump, when the Handmaids became a symbol of resistance against him; and the 2017 release of the award-winning Channel 4 TV series. Sales of the English language edition have now topped 8 million copies worldwide. Atwood has won numerous awards including the Booker Prize, the Arthur C. Clarke Award for Imagination in Service to Society, the Franz Kafka Prize, the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade and the PEN USA Lifetime Achievement Award. She has also worked as a cartoonist, illustrator, librettist, playwright and puppeteer. She lives in Toronto, Canada.



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