Margaret Atwood Is First Writer Chosen for Katie Paterson Project

Prolific prizewinning writer Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale and Cat’s Eye, has been chosen as the first contributor to Scottish artist Katie Paterson‘s Future Library, an ambitious new public artwork set in Oslo, Norway, that will unfold over the next 100 years. The author has begun writing the first text, which will be handed over at an event to be held next May.

Each year, from 2014 to 2114, Paterson and the Future Library Trust, a consortium of publishers and editors, will invite one writer to contribute a new text to a collection of unpublished, unread manuscripts. Oslo officials donated a forest just outside the city to the Future Library, where Paterson planted 1,000 trees this past May. It will be an entire century before the trees are cut down to provide the paper on which the texts will eventually be printed as an anthology of books.

Presently, the form of the Future Library is in limited edition certificates, which entitle the user to a copy of the anthology in 2114. According to James Cohan gallery, which represents Paterson, the print “holds the promise of stories that will only be read beyond the owner’s lifetime, while the forest shows the slow growth of the trees inch by inch and year by year.”

Atwood said she was honored and happy to be part of the project, saying “it believes the human race will still be around in a hundred years.” Paterson called it “my dream” that Atwood is writing for the art project. “I imagine her words growing through the trees, an unseen energy, activated and materialized, the tree rings becoming chapters in a book.”


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