handmaid's tale draft

You can now read the first draft of the Handmaid's Tale in Toronto

The University of Toronto is plugging its extensive Margaret Atwood collection this week following Sunday night's string of Emmy Award wins for The Handmaid's Tale, and boy am I glad they are.

Toronto-based fans of the hit TV series, based on Atwood's 1985 book of the same name, should be excited to learn that an original, handwritten first draft of The Handmaid's Tale can be viewed – by anyone – at U of T's Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.

"Fifteen years before The Handmaid's Tale was published, Atwood began providing material – from manuscripts to personal letters – to the University of Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library," reads a U of T news story published in April, shortly before the Hulu series premiered.

According to the university, Atwood has donated over 600 boxes-worth of material to her alma mater over the past 50 years.

Called "The Margaret Atwood Papers," the collection consists of novels, poetry, short stories, dramatic works, holographic drafts, typescripts, personal letters and even illustrations – as well as "considerable unpublished material."

It also includes book covers of The Handmaid's Tale from around the world and a "draft of the libretto from the Danish opera adaptation" of the canonical dystopian novel.

Romi Levine writes in the U of T article that fans and academics come from around the world each year to access the Atwood archives, which grow steadily in volume as the author continues to donate.

If you already live in Toronto, you can skip the plane ticket and go see the archival material for yourself, this week, in the Fisher Library's supervised reading room.

You can also follow the library on Instagram for exclusive Atwood-related snaps, and so many other insanely cool things. Trust me. You won't regret the follow.

Lead photo by

Romi Levine


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