The Canadian author Margaret Atwood has been named as the first writer to contribute to Scottish artist Katie Paterson’s 100-year artwork, Future Library. The award-winning novelist and poet will write the first text for the project, which will remain unpublished and held in trust until 2114.
Paterson has planted a thousand trees in a forest on the outskirts of Oslo, Norway. These will supply the paper for an anthology of books to be printed in 100 years time. From now until then, one writer every year will contribute a piece of writing to the project. Paterson will not see what has been written.
Speaking to the Guardian, Atwood said: “It is the kind of thing you either immediately say yes or no to. You don’t think about it for very long. I think it goes right back to that phase of our childhood when we used to bury little things in the backyard, hoping that someone would dig them up, long in the future, and say, ‘How interesting, this rusty old piece of tin, this little sack of marbles is. I wonder who put it there?'”
Paterson said: “Margaret Atwood’s writing is a bit like a telescope into our world – it helps us look forward in time but also back in time and also deeply into the present. Her writing is expansive and allows such an imaginary leap. She has so much vision about what could happen to humanity, and she’s really concerned for humanity itself.”
More information on Future Library at futurelibrary.no
Katie Paterson: Ideas, is showing at Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh, until 4 October 2014. www.inglebygallery.com