In an era when the habit of reading has become a rarity, a project to nurture literature to be read by the future generation is certainly welcome! However, the Future Library project which has been kick-started in Norway is unique and it has hogged the attention of the media. In Norway, near Oslo, a thousand trees are planted with a novel concept. In a century, the trees will grow up enough to produce required wood to publish an upcoming anthology of books, deemed as ‘library of the future’.
The Future Library: 100 famous authors have pledged to write a novel each Every year for 100 years, that will remain unpublished until 2114
The project is the brainchild of Katie Paterson, a noted Scottish artist. She calls it a living, breathing, as well as organic artwork, which will unfold over a century. The project was conceived in 2014. Paterson has approached a writer to contribute to the project for each year. The writers will submit their writing manuscripts and those will be kept hidden until 2114. By that year, the trees planted in Oslo’s Nordmarka forest will grow up. The paper produced from those trees will be used to print the writings.
The manuscripts submitted by writers will be preserved in New Deichmanske Public Library which will be inaugurated in Oslo in 2019. The manuscripts will be kept on display in the library’s fifth floor but they will not be made available for reading until the completion of the 100 year period!
As per the project website, the invitation for contributing is sent to poets and authors of considerable repute. They are selected for contributions to their respective fields. The capacity of their artwork to affect the imagination of the future generations is also analyzed. However, the authors are given the freedom to decide the length of the artwork created by them. Each writer invited for the project is given one year’s time to complete the writing. The authors will be selected from all parts of the world- more or less.
The first writer to submit writing for this centenary artwork project is Margaret Atwood in 2014. She is pretty upbeat about contributing to the unique project and become the first writer as well. She has composed a book titled Scribbler Moon for this project. She was followed by novelist David Mitchell in 2015. He wrote a book named From Me Flows What You Call Time. Icelandic novelist, poet, and lyricist Sjón were chosen for contributing to the project in 2016. She thinks the Future Library project is like the massive cathedrals of Europe. Beyond doubt, this project has been started in this century and it will take efforts of a few more generations to reach completion.
The latest and 4th contributor to the project is Elif Shafak, a Turkish novelist. Paterson finds her writing quite powerful as it dissolves geographical and language barriers. Shafak personally thinks it is a rare opportunity for her to join the unique artwork project and she is yet to complete her work. It is a literary project that has contributions from many countries, races, and ethnicities which work as a binding influence in times when the division is ripping the human race apart!