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Margaret Atwood to add manuscript to Future Library on May 26

Atwood and Paterson in the Future Library forest (Photo courtesy of Bjørvika  Utvikling)

Atwood and Paterson in the Future Library forest (photo: courtesy of Bjørvika Utvikling)

Scottish conceptual artist Katie Paterson has chosen Margaret Atwood as the inaugural author to commit a manuscript to her Future Library project. The author will present her work at a ceremony on May 26 that includes a walk to the Future Library forest and a public interview with Paterson.

Last year, a forest of 1,000 trees was planted for the Oslo-based project, to be cut down in one century to provide paper to publish never-before-read manuscripts by renowned authors. These manuscripts will be kept in a room specially designed by Paterson at the Deichmanske Public Library, which opens in 2018. Though author and title names will be displayed, the works will not be made available until their publication in 100 years.

Each year until 2114, Paterson and the Future Library Trust – which comprises members of the international publishing community – will select a writer to add a text.

The project is a part of Slow Space, a public-art program initiated by U.K. art producer Situations and commissioned by Norwegian urban-development venture Bjørvika Utvikling.

Atwood says, in a press release:

I am very honoured, and also happy to be part of this endeavour. This project, at least, believes the human race will still be around in a hundred years! Future Library is bound to attract a lot of attention over the decades, as people follow the progress of the trees, note what takes up residence in and around them, and try to guess what writers have put into their sealed boxes.

In honour of the event, Atwood has published a short essay about her participation in the initiative on Wattpad. Wattpad will also host a story-writing contest based on the title of Atwood’s Future Library work. The contest will open May 26, and winners will be announced in June.