A specially commissioned, unburnable edition of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale has been auctioned for US$130,000, Sotheby’s announced Tuesday. Proceeds will be donated to PEN America, which advocates for free expression worldwide. The 384-page book consists mainly of Cinefoil, a specially treated aluminium product, and was announced last month at PEN’s annual fundraising gala. To help promote the initiative, Atwood agreed to be filmed attempting – unsuccessfully – to incinerate a prototype with a flame thrower. “I’m very pleased that the one-of-a-kind Unburnable Book of The Handmaid’s Tale has raised so much money for PEN America,” the Canadian author said in a statement. “Free speech issues are being hotly debated, and PEN is a sane voice amidst all the shouting. “The video of the book being torched by me and refusing to burn has now had a potential 5 billion views. We hope it raises awareness and leads to reasoned discussion.” Margaret Atwood’s Burning Questions: funny, emotional non-fiction The fireproof book was a joint project by PEN, Atwood, Penguin Random House and two companies based in Toronto, where Atwood is a long-time resident: the Rethink creative agency and The Gas Company Inc., a graphic arts and bookbinding specialty studio. The Handmaid’s Tale , a million seller first released in 1985, is a dystopian novel about a cruel patriarchy known as the Republic of Gilead. It has been subject to various bannings since publication.