Margaret Atwood on How Trump Election Inspired 'The Testaments': "It Put Wind in My Sails"

Margaret Atwood stopped by Late Night With Seth Meyers Thursday night to discuss the release of her highly anticipated book The Testaments. 

In Atwood's The Testaments, available at bookstores everywhere, the author pens her long-anticipated sequel to The Handmaid's Tale 15 years after the original ending.  

Atwood's story explores the complicated lives of handmaids who are sex slaves forced to give birth for infertile elite couples. Cultural and political observers have noted that the themes and concepts of The Handmaid's Tale seem to parallel today's climate, in particular with the Trump administration making repeated strikes against the rights of women, immigrants, LGBTQ individuals and other marginalized communities.

Meyers was quick to note the similarities. "I thought this book was a reaction to what happened in 2016. Did it inform how you wrote it?" 

"It put wind in my sails, let's put it that way," the author said with a smile on her face. "It encouraged me." 

During an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, Atwood also described the story as a "warning." "It's not me who made this stuff up," Atwood said. "The human race made it up, unfortunately." She also said: "It is a warning," adding, "Simply because I never have believed it can't happen here. I've never believed that. And more and more people are joining me in that lack of belief."

When speaking with Meyers, Atwood reiterated that "each detail is plucked from reality" so nothing she wrote has not occurred already, whether it be in this climate or previously before.

Atwood also discussed how prevalent her story has become throughout generations, describing The Handmaid's Tale as having "second lives." "It's been an opera, a graphic novel and it's been a ballet. It's been a movie ... It has yet another set of lives for protest movements," she acknowledged. 

When asked whether she watches Hulu's adaptation of her book or has connected with the showrunners, Atwood simply quipped: "I even have a credit."  Prior to the book hitting shelves, MGM and Hulu announced earlier this month that they will also develop The Testaments for the screen as "an important extension" to showrunner Bruce Miller's Emmy-winning drama starring Elisabeth Moss.

Later on, Meyers requested that Atwood read his palm after discovering she has a talent for doing so. 

While taking a look at his hand, Atwood made fun assessments of the late-night host. "You seem to be quite healthy at the moment. Geez, you're going to live a long time," she said, laughing. "You're quite more stable than people think. You're not as wacko." She also informed Meyers that he has "no presidential aspirations" nor a desire to be a general. "You're not a really combative person. You're just a smarty pants."