Margaret Atwood is the first author that will be participating in the Future Library time capsule project, which was announced last year. The official ceremony will begin next Tuesday, May 26 and the historic moment will be captured on Periscope. Her work will remain unpublished – and unread – until 2114.
Margaret posted a short essay in her involvement in the project on Wattpad. The key takeaway is that she loves digging in the dirt and finding things. “As a child, I was one of those who buried treasures in jars, with the idea that someone, some day, might come along and dig them up. I found similar things while digging in the various gardens I have made: old nails, old medicine bottles, fragments of china plates… That is what the Future Library is like, in part: it will contain fragments of lives that were once lived, and that are now the past. But all writing is a method of preserving and transmitting the human voice.”
What is the Future Library Project all about? Well, a thousand trees have been planted in Nordmarka, a forest just outside Oslo, which will supply paper for a special anthology of books to be printed in one hundred years time. Between now and then, one writer every year will contribute a text, with the writings held in trust, unpublished, until 2114. Tending the forest and ensuring its preservation for the 100-year duration of the artwork finds a conceptual counterpoint in the invitation extended to each writer: to conceive and produce a work in the hopes of finding a receptive reader in an unknown future.