Books  |  Jun 8, 2022

Unburnable edition of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale goes for $130,000 at auction

A one-of-a-kind, unburnable edition of Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale has sold for $130,000 at auction, with all proceeds going to PEN America.

The Handmaid's Tale has been banned in many places over many years since its publication in 1985. This unique edition, which was made entirely using fireproof materials, was intended to serve as a powerful symbol against censorship and a reminder of the necessity of protecting vital stories.

The book was presented for auction by Sotheby’s New York in partnership with Penguin Random House, with all proceeds going to benefit PEN America’s work in support of free expression. 

In a statement Atwood said: “I’m very pleased that the one-of-a-kind Unburnable Book of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ has raised so much money for PEN America. Free speech issues are being hotly debated, and PEN is a sane voice amidst all the shouting. The video of the book being torched by me and refusing to burn has now had a potential 5bn views. We hope it raises awareness and leads to reasoned discussion.”