Margaret Atwood Joins The Future Library Project, Book-Blocks You For 100 Years
Ooooh, the future.
Margaret Atwood’s latest book is about to be locked away for the next hundred years. No, not because she doesn’t want to read the Amazon reviews, but because she’s the first author to have signed up to be a part of the Future Library Project.
Here’s how it works: Scottish artist and Future Library Project creator Katie Paterson planted 1,000 trees just outside of Oslo, in Norway. Every year, for the next hundred years, an author will be asked to contribute a book to the Project. Finally, in 2114, all of the trees in Paterson’s Norwegian forest will be cut down, the stories will be printed on their paper, and people can read them.
A group called the Future Library trust will be responsible for selecting the authors each year, and for the maintenance of the sooper-seekrit room in the Deichmanske public library, where all the texts (and a printing press, should paper books be completely obsolete in 100 years) will be held.
Atwood told The Guardian that the project interested her almost immediately, because it reminded her of burying letters and or time capsules as a child. Though, she said, the idea of not being around to hear the future criticism didn’t hurt:
“What a pleasure. You don’t have to be around for the part when if it’s a good review the publisher takes credit for it and if it’s a bad review it’s all your fault. And why would I believe them anyway?”
Paterson agreed that the long-form nature of the Project is what some contributors might find appealing:
“For some writers I think it could be an incredible freedom – they can write whatever they like, from a short story to a novel, in any language and any context […] We’re just asking that it be on the theme of imagination and time, which they can take in so many directions. I think it’s important that the writing reflects maybe something of this moment in time, so when future readers open the book, they will have some kind of reflection of how we were living in this moment.”
Atwood said she’s not allowed to reveal anything about what she’s writing, which she finds “delicious” – though she has bought special paper that won’t decay if kept in a sealed box for the next century.
If you could write about anything, knowing no one would read it for a century, what would it be? I think I’d probably have to say video games.
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