A specially commissioned, fireproof edition of The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood has been auctioned for $130,000, Sotheby’s announced on Tuesday.
Proceeds will be donated to PEN America, which champions freedom of expression around the world. The 384-page book is made primarily from Cinefoil, an aluminum product, and was announced at PEN’s annual fundraiser last month.
To help promote the initiative, Margaret Atwood agreed to be filmed trying, unsuccessfully, to set the book on fire.
“I’m thrilled The Fireproof Handmaid’s Tale has raised so much money for PEN America,” the Canadian writer said in a statement.
“Free speech issues are hotly debated, and PEN is a voice amidst all the shouting. The video of the book being set on fire by me and refusing to burn has potentially 5 billion views. We hope it raises awareness and generates a rational debate.”
The fireproof book was a joint project of PEN, Atwood, Penguin Random House and two companies based in Toronto, where Atwood lives: creative agency Rethink and The Gas Company Inc., a graphic arts company and studio specializing in the binding. The Handmaid’s Tale, released in 1985, is a dystopian novel about a cruel patriarchy known as the Republic of Gilead. It has been the subject of several bans since its publication (and was adapted in the series The Handmaid’s Tale)
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