Behind the Ban: The Handmaid's Tale

Thu, Sep 22 2022 at 6:30 pm

Celebrate Banned Books Week 2022 with Britsburgh, as we read between the lines of The Handmaid's Tale with Dr. Kathy M. Newman at The Urban Tap. 

Together we will take a deep dive into Canadian author Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel - which often appears on the American Library Association's list of top challenged books -- with Dr. Kathy M. Newman, Carnegie Mellon University Professor of English Literary and Cultural Studies on Thursday, September 22 at 6:30 p.m. at The Urban Tap, 216 S. Highland Avenue, Pittsburgh 15206.  Order a cocktail or one of the 80+ beers on draft. Then enjoy a tasty pub sandwich (choose when you register for the event) as you make some new friends among the Britsburgh crowd. Settle in at 7:30 p.m. as Professor Newman helps us explore the tale of life under a theocratic, totalitarian regime in a land called Gilead. In Gilead, the fundamentalist regime desperately attempts to repopulate a climate-devastated world by forcing the few remaining fertile women into reproductive servitude. The fifth season of the popular TV adaptation of Atwood’s novel is scheduled for release on Hulu on September 14 of this year. Engaging in conversation with the Britsburgh attendees, Professor Newman will challenge us to think about questions raised by The Handmaid’s Tale: How do women become accomplices in systems that hurt other women? Is resistance possible within an authoritarian regime? Why has The Handmaid’s Tale made it onto the list of banned books? Can Gilead happen here?


About Dr. Kathy M. Newman 

Kathy M. Newman is Associate Professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University. Newman teaches a course on Banned Books every year, and this year’s focus is books that are currently under attack. The Handmaid's Tale is on the list! Newman, along with her Banned Books students, is currently updating the Banned Books Project at CMU. Newman is also in the process of finishing a book with Rutgers University Press, Backstory: Film, Television and Social Class in the 1950s. Newman lives in Squirrel Hill with her husband and three teenagers.


About Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood, who was born in Ottawa in 1939, has been the most famous Canadian author for decades. She published her first collection of poems in 1961, and has since written seventeen novels, sixteen poetry collections, ten works of nonfiction, eight short-story collections, and seven children’s books.

Atwood is best known for The Handmaid’s Tale, published in 1985. The central character and narrator of the novel is a woman named Offred, “a woman stripped of her job, her family, and her name in a near-future American theocracy called  Gilead. Offred is a Handmaid, forced to live as a breeding concubine; each month, she is ceremonially raped by her Commander, a man of high status, in the interest of rebuilding a population that has dwindled owing to secular immorality, environmental toxicity, and super-S.T.D.s. Like all Handmaids, she wears a scarlet dress, a long cloak, and a face-obscuring white bonnet, a uniform that Atwood based, in part, on the woman on the label of Old Dutch Cleanser, an image that had scared her as a child.” -- Jia Tolentino, The New Yorker, September 16, 2019 

Join us to discuss this signature work of Commonwealth of Nations author Margaret Atwood! A sandwich is included with your registration. 


When: Thursday, September 22, 2022 at 6:30 p.m.  Enjoy dinner and socializing at 6:30 before the program begins at 7:30. 

Where: The Urban Tap in Shadyside, 216 S Highland Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15206

Tickets: MEMBERS LOGIN FOR $25 TICKETS. Non-members $30. Advance registration is required, please purchase your ticket here. Your ticket price includes your choice of sandwich from the options below, gratuity, facility rental costs, and the program. The price does not include beverages; please plan to run your own tab. 

Choice of Britsburgh Pub Options:  Classic Urban Tap Burger with Fries  |  Southwest Veggie Burger with Fries  |  Big Fish on a Little Roll with Fries


The Urban Tap Shadyside
216 S Highland Ave,
Pittsburgh, PA 15206

Event Type