The future of writing is happening today. The Future Library is now standing in a forest in Norway with 1000 young trees reaching about a foot towards the sky. Standing on the wet forest floor among those trees are writer Maragaret Atwood and artist Katie Paterson. One is about to hand a manuscript to the other.
Scottish artist Katie Paterson is no stranger to a new way of looking at things. She has placed a small grain of sand somewhere in the Saharan Desert. She once broadcast a melting glacier over her cell phone letting someone in an art gallery hear the water dripping and the glacier potentially calving. This time around? She has planted 1000 trees that, in one hundred years time, will be turned into pulp so that a book containing 100 authors can be published. The first author in that collection is Margaret Atwood.
Author Margaret Atwood was chosen for the year 2014. Each year thereafter, a new writer will be chosen and they will add what Paterson says could be “one word or a thousand pages”. The authors can write a “story, a novel, poems, nonfiction.” The only limitation that has been given is it can’t be a “photo album.”
A Booker prize-winning author, Atwood has turned in her manuscript of the first story of the Future Library. It is called “Scribbler Moon.” Everyone is remaining tight-lipped on what it is about. The subject matter can be about anything.
British author David Mitchell was chosen for 2015. Here is our first clue to what is being written. As with Atwood, David is writing about a dystopian future with a concept of time. It should come as no surprise that an author will choose a future look for a Future Library. It does bring the question however, are the authors aware of what the previous authors have written? It does seem like more than a coincidence that two different authors would both choose science fiction in a dystopian future involving concepts of time. Are the authors given promps? Are they writing in a shared universe?
No word yet on who has been chosen for 2016.
For the next 100 years, the Oslo Library will hold and preserve the manuscripts turned in by the 100 authors — as soon as they build a wood-lined room to house the sealed manuscripts for the Future Library.
In the year 2114, the trees planted in the Nordmarka forest, near Oslo, will be harvested and turned into 3000 books containing the writings of 100 different authors to be read by the public for the first time.
You can’t. However, you can get a certificate. The bearer will be able to claim the special edition of the Future Library made from the Nordmarka trees. The cost? Only 600 pounds, British Sterling. For a special limited edition, that might be a good value. After all, brand new books in the year 2114 might cost twice that. As of this writing, 100 copies have already been sold.