It’s time to return to Panem.
The Hunger Games fans are buzzing today after Scholastic dropped the news that they have acquired the rights to a yet unnamed prequel to the popular series. The trilogy, written by Suzanne Collins, was originally published from 2008-2010. It became an almost instant hit with four movies telling the stories in the three books. And although she had already starred in the award-winning Winter’s Bone, these films catapulted Jennifer Lawrence into A-list stardom.
The Hunger Games is a dytopian young adult novel that tells the story of Katniss Everdeen as she is selected to compete in a battle where only one can survive. This annual battle is a consequence set up by political leaders of the world of Panem, often described as a rebuilt America after a terribly dark period of war. Collins wrote a rich world filled with the darkness of a social context that has gone awry. Everdeen seems be among the minority that notices and, througout the books, fights to right that imbalance.
The news from Scholastic does not give a lot of detail about the next text. But what we do know is the new story will take place about 64 years before the first in the original trilogy. Collins stated that she “wanted to explore the state of nature, who we are, and what we perceive is required for our survival.” This will center around the resconstruction of Panem after the war. So, readers will get to experience how the dystopian universe became the world that Katniss Everdeen lived through.
I would expect a lot of parallels between the reconstruction efforts and the current political climate in America. There is such a division of power, it allows for effortless allegory in fiction. I do hope we get some insight into the ancestry of the Everdeens. Perhaps an influential young female with a quiet strength and a floral-inspired name could make an appearance.
Scholastic expects to release the book simutaneously in print, digital, and audio across multiple markets on May 19, 2020.