Called 'The Testaments', it is set to pick up 15 years after the ending of the best-selling book, which was first published in 1985. The novel has since been adapted into a hugely successful TV series for Hulu starring Elizabeth Moss.

In a press release today, the 79-year-old Canadian author said: "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."

'The Testaments' will be narrated by three female characters and will not be connected to the television adaptation of 'The Handmaid’s Tale', which has now gone beyond Atwood's novel to continue Offred’s story.

Becky Hardie, deputy publishing director at Chatto & Windus, said: "As a society, we’ve never needed Margaret Atwood more. The moment the van door slams on Offred’s future at the end of 'The Handmaid’s Tale' is one of the most brilliantly ambiguous endings in literature. I cannot wait to find out what’s been going on in Atwood’s Gilead ­– and what that might tell us about our own times.”

'The Testaments' will be published on the 10th September 2019.