Hungry for More 'Hunger Games?' Prequel in Progress
Ten years after finishing The Hunger Games book series, American writer Suzanne Collins is returning readers to Panem.
A prequel, set 64 years before the beginning of her best-selling trilogy, is expected next year.
The book, currently unnamed, is planned for release on May 19, 2020.
Collins said in a statement that she would go back to the years following the so-called "Dark Days" -- the failed rebellion in Panem. Collins set the Hunger Games books in a dark future world where young people must fight and kill each other -- on live television.
"With this book, I wanted to explore the state of nature, who we are, and what we perceive is required for our survival," she said. She said the rebuilding period that would follow the rebellion "provides fertile ground" for characters to explore these questions and "define their views of humanity."
The storyline takes place long before the lifetime of The Hunger Games heroine Katniss Everdeen, played by Jennifer Lawrence in the billion-dollar movie series.
Ellie Berger is the president of Scholastic Trade Publishing. She praised Collins in a statement as a "master" at storytelling, world building and social commentary.
Berger said the company was "thrilled" to publish the book for loyal fans as well as readers new to the series.
Lionsgate released the four Hunger Games movies. In a recent statement to The Associated Press, Lionsgate chairman Joe Drake said, "As the proud home of the Hunger Games movies, we can hardly wait for Suzanne's next book to be published. We've been communicating with her during the writing process and we look forward to continuing to work closely with her on the movie."
Lionsgate did not immediately answer when asked if an agreement for film rights had already been reached.
The first three Hunger Games books — The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay — have sold more than 100 million copies. The books have been published in more than 50 languages. The series has been credited with launching a wave of dystopian books for young people.
Collins thinks this is a good thing.
"Dystopian stories are places where you can play out the scenarios in your head — your anxieties — and see what might come of them," she said.
"And," she added, "hopefully, as a young person, with the possibilities of the future waiting for you, you're thinking about how to head these things off."
I'm Caty Weaver.