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Margret Atwood, The First in the Future Library Project

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Neda Semnani

By Neda Semnani on September 5, 2014


Today in the time of Internet and constant social media updates, writers worry if anyone will read their words in twenty minutes, let alone if it can remain relevant in a century’s time. Today, the Guardian reports that the prolific award-winning author Margret Atwood is the first writer to agree to participate in the Future Library Project. The project, the brainchild of artist Katie Paterson, will invite one author to contribute a work to be released to the public in 2114.

What’s more, according to the Guardian, Paterson began to plant a forest of trees outside of Oslo, Norway, which will, in one hundred years time, after all one hundred authors have donated their work, provide the paper to print the works of the handpicked authors.

The work will be stored in hard copy in a specially-designed room in Deichmanske public library, which will open to the public in 2018 in Bjørvika, Oslo.

The room will be lined with wood from the forest, with the names of the authors and the titles of their work on display – but none of the manuscripts available to read.

Each year, the Future Library trust, made up of literary experts – and Paterson, while she’s alive – will name another “outstanding” writer who will be contributing to the artwork. The trust is also responsible for the maintenance of the forest, and for ensuring the books are printed in a century’s time. A printing press will be placed in the library to make sure those in charge in 2114 have the capability of printing books on paper.

Like a fairy tale, it will be one hundred years and a day before we know whether this project was a great success or an illusion.

[Banner: Birch forest in Tromsø in early summer. Photo/Lars Tiede]

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