The Story Behind the Cover: The Handmaid's Tale

Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale is in the middle of a major renaissance. The hit TV series has brought countless new readers to the book and sparked some serious conversations about feminism, politics, and the state of our world.

The Handmaid's Tale TV Tie-in

The cover of the TV tie-in edition has become prolific as well. But, what did the original covers look like? We decided to do a little digging in the McClelland and Stewart archive to find out more about the history of this beloved Canadian novel and the covers that brought it to life.

The Handmaid's Tale Paperback Edition 1985  The Handmaid's Tale 1986 Paperback Edition

In 1985, McClelland and Stewart first published the hardcover of The Handmaid’s Tale. The book’s original cover features the same striking red that has been used over and over again in later iterations. In 1986, the paperback edition was published with Seal Books. If you take a close look, the costumes in the TV series are almost identical to the image on this cover!




The Handmaid's Tale 75th Birthday (30th Anniversary Edition)

The current cover was designed by Penguin Random House Canada’s Jennifer Lum to mark Atwood’s 75th birthday and the book’s 30th anniversary. Three of Atwood's other titles were also included in this redesign: Blind Assassin, The Robber Bride, and Alias Grace. Each cover features a portion of a woman's silhouette, but when you place them all together a complete female figure is formed.

The Margaret Atwood 4-Book Bundle

While covers may come and go, the story of The Handmaid’s Tale has remained the same. And, as the buzz around the book shows, it is more relevant today than ever (scary, right?). We very well might be doing another retrospective 30 years from now. 


The Handmaid's Tale Set - Signed!For the ultimate fan of The Handmaid’s Tale (the book or new TV series!). Designer Jennifer Lum has re-imagined this iconic Canadian classic with a brand new cover and bold t-shirt design to match.

View The Handmaid's Tale Set - Signed!

Addicted to the new TV series of The Handmaid's Tale? Check out The Handmaid's Tale TV Tie-in Set featuring a signed copy of the TV Tie-in edition and matching The Handmaid’s Tale t-shirt.