'Unburnable' edition of The Handmaid's Tale fetches £103k at auction

Boost for free speech: ‘Unburnable’ edition of Margaret Atwood’s classic novel The Handmaid’s Tale fetches £103,000 at auction… with proceeds funding mission to combat book banning

  • An ‘unburnable’ edition of The Handmaid’s Tale has sold at auction for £103,000
  • Winnings went to PEN America, a non-profit which promotes freedom of speech
  • ‘Free speech issues are being hotly debated, and PEN is a sane voice amidst all the shouting,’ said bestselling author Margaret Atwood

An ‘unburnable’ edition of Margaret Atwood’s bestseller The Handmaid’s Tale has sold at auction for £103,000.

In a promotional video, the Canadian author, 82, donned black safety gloves and blasted the book, pictured, with a flamethrower to test its resistance.

The one-of-a-kind copy went under the hammer to raise funds for PEN America, a non-profit organisation which promotes freedom of speech.

All proceeds will go to its mission to combat book banning and gag orders in American schools. The book was sold at Sotheby’s in New York.

The one-of-a-kind copy went under the hammer to raise funds for PEN America, a non-profit organisation which promotes freedom of speech

Following the sale, 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 5 billion views.

‘We hope it raises awareness and leads to reasoned discussion.’

Since its publication in 1985, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, telling the story of an alternative ultra-religious and oppressive America, has been banned in schools in the US and UK for more than 30 years.

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