Suzanne Collins is returning to the world of Panem in a brand new Hunger Games prequel, set for release next year.
The Hunger Games author announced the new book alongside publisher Scholastic Monday morning. Currently untitled, the Hunger Games prequel is expected to explore the early “Dark Days” of Panem, 64 years before the events surrounding Katniss Everdeen and the revolution she sparks.
“With this book, I wanted to explore the state of nature, who we are, and what we perceive is required for our survival,” Collins told the Associated Press. “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.”
Collins’ publisher Scholastic said they’red “thrilled” to return to the world of Panem.
“Suzanne Collins is a master at combining brilliant storytelling, superb world building, breathtaking suspense, and social commentary,” Scholastic Trade Publishing President Ellie Berger told the Associated Press in a statement. “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.”
Scholastic also released a placeholder mockup cover. Check it out:
— Scholastic (@Scholastic) June 17, 2019
Scholastic isn’t the only company excited about the announcement. Lionsgate, the movie studio behind the megablockbuster Hunger Games movies, appears to have been somewhat involved throughout the writing process and is eyeing the book for film.
“As the proud home of the ‘Hunger Games’ movies, we can hardly wait for Suzanne’s next book to be published,” Joe Drake, chairman of the Lionsgate Motion Picture Group, told the Associated Press. “We’ve been communicating with her during the writing process and we look forward to continuing to work closely with her on the movie.”
Collins’ was heavily involved in the Hunger Games films (not surprising, considering that she has many screenwriting credits under her name) and penned a goodbye letter to the Hunger Games franchise after the final film’s release in 2015.
“Having spent the last decade in Panem, it’s time to move on to other lands,” she wrote at the time. “For me, The Hunger Games Trilogy is part of a larger goal to introduce the ideas of just war theory to young audiences, but how much wider and more varied an audience came with the films, and the credit for that goes to all of you who contributed so much to this project.”
Fans might have to wait a while for the prequel, which won’t hit shelves for nearly a year. It’s currently set for a May 19, 2020 release date.
Widely considered a pioneer in YA, The Hunger Games is one of the best-selling book franchises in recent years. Collins’ released the first book just over a decade ago in 2008. The final Hunger Games novel, Mockingjay, came out in 2010 and was an instant bestseller, with a print run of 1.2 million copies.