Coming in 2114 - A new Margaret Atwood short story

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Margaret Atwood is writing a story that won’t be read in our lifetimes. She is the first author to take part in the Future Library Project, which aims to provide the readers of 2114 with a treasure trove of previously unread stories.

The Project, conceived by Scotland artist Katie Paterson, will see an author selected each year for the next century to contribute a freshly written manuscript to a growing collection of works to be stored in a new public library set to open in Oslo in 2018. Each writer taking part is allowed to allow one individual to read his or her manuscript. Otherwise, each manuscript will remain a mystery until 2114. At that time, 3,000 copies of a collection of all the works added to the Future Library Project will be printed. The paper will come from 1,000 Norwegian spruce trees planted this summer on two acres of land near Oslo in Nordmarka, Norway.

The Project is an extremely long-form piece of public art that aims to force participants to think both of the future and how to capture present-day for readers who have not even been born yet.

Writers taking part in the Project will be selected each year by a panel of trustees. Margaret Atwood was chosen early in September as the first author to take part.

In explaining the choice of Atwood, Paterson stated, “Margaret Atwood’s writing is a bit like a telescope to our world. It helps us look forward in time but also back in time and also deeply into the present. I think her writing is so expansive and it allows an incredible imaginary leap. She has so much vision about what could happen to humanity.”

“It’s very optimistic to do a project that believes that there will be people in 100 years that those people will still be reading,” Atwood explained in a video promoting the project. “And that we will be able to communicate across time which is what any book is.”

For more information on the Future Library Project, check out the below video.

Margaret Atwood - the first writer for Future Library from Katie Paterson on Vimeo.

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