May 27, 2015
Margaret Atwood delivers secret manuscript to be published in 2114
by Kirsten Reach
Margaret Atwood has delivered her next book! But the novel, titled Scribbler Moon, is sealed away in a library trust where none of us will read it (unless we solve the pesky issues of aging and mortality by the year 2114).
As we’ve written before, Atwood is a part of Oslo’s “Future Library” Project, started by Scottish artist Katie Paterson. Paterson has even planted the trees that will one day turn into the pages of these books (unless we come up with robot paper before then). Atwood is the first of 100 authors to be a part of the collection.
How will anyone remember to look at these books a hundred years from now? Librarians in Oslo aren’t just working from a greying Post-It on a century-old computer; there’s a single room dedicated to the project, soon to be full of secret boxes including the title and author of each work.
Atwood told the BBC, “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 the writers have put into their sealed boxes.”
The manuscript was delivered in a mysterious ceremony, described by Christopher D. Shea in the New York Times:
The day’s events began with a public walk from a local train station to the wood near the northern edges of Oslo whose trees were planted for the project. There, Ms. Atwood gave a reading (not from her new work). She handed the secret manuscript to Ms. Paterson who then gave it to a representative of the library. A similar ritual is to take place every year for the next 99 years.
That’s how we accept final drafts of manuscripts in our office, too.
Kirsten Reach is an editor at Melville House.