A decade after the release of what fans thought to be the final book in the Hunger Games trilogy, Suzanne Collins is taking young (and old) readers back to Panem. Ten years and four multi-billion-dollar movies later, Collins has set the release date of May 19, 2020, for her next book in the series, a prequel set well before our heroine Katniss Everdeen (played on screen by Jennifer Lawrence) was born.
The new story takes places during the “Dark Days” following the war and failed rebellion in the dystopian world of Panem, 64 years before we meet our beloved characters. While there hasn’t been much information shared about the new novel, we do know it takes place the morning of the reaping for the 10th Hunger Games.
“With this book, I wanted to explore the state of nature, who we are, and what we perceive is required for our survival,” author Suzanne Collins said in a press release. “The reconstruction period 10 years after the war, commonly referred to as the Dark Days — as the country of Panem struggles back to its feet — provides fertile ground for characters to grapple with these questions and thereby define their views of humanity.”
The Hunger Games, as portrayed in the books and films, are a televised survival competition where children from each of the 12, originally 13, districts fight to the death in order to receive ample supplies from those in charge. The previous books have alluded to the fall of the 13th district during the “Dark Days” and it appears this prequel could finally answer our questions.
The original trilogy of books and movies inspired a wave of post-apocalyptic creative works and got plenty of young readers to put down their phones and pick up a book.
Since the first book’s release in 2008, The Hunger Games, each of the novels has sold over 100 million copies and have been translated into over 50 languages.
“Suzanne Collins is a master at combining brilliant storytelling, superb world-building, breathtaking suspense, and social commentary,” Ellie Berger, President, Scholastic Trade said in a press release. “We are absolutely thrilled — as both readers and publishers — to introduce the devoted fans of the series, and a new audience, to an entirely new perspective on this modern classic.”
Since the last Hunger Games novels were released, Collins has been instrumental in the making of the film franchise and has continued to write novels. Her most recent book, Year of the Jungle, was released in 2013. That novel centers around her father’s experiences in the Air Force during the Vietnam War.
Collins always taken an interest in war because of her father’s career and she cites him, as well as the combination of military reality TV cultures, as inspiration for the Hunger Games series.
“We have so much programming coming at us all the time,” Collins said during at 2010 interview with Associated Press. “Is it too much? Are we becoming desensitized to the entire experience?”
Collins continued, “Dystopian stories are places where you can play out the scenarios in your head — your anxieties — and see what might come of them. And, hopefully, as a young person, with the possibilities of the future waiting for you, you’re thinking about how to head these things off.”
While no official title has been released yet, Untitled Panem Novel is already causing excitement among fans.
Set to come out just before Summer of 2020, it could be the perfect opportunity to reignite the passion for reading in kids and teens, as well as the young adults that grew up with the series.
AP News: Hunger Games’ prequel novel coming in 2020
CNET: Hunger Games prequel set 64 years before the first book coming in 2020
Scholastic Newsroom: Scholastic to Publish New Novel in the Worldwide Bestselling Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins