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Karl Ove Knausgård to add book manuscript to the Future Library: a 100-year art project

Karl Ove Knausgård, Ocean Vuong, and Tsitsi Dangarembga to hand over manuscripts to the 100-year art project, created by Scottish artist Katie Paterson, this summer
Karl Ove Knausgaard; creative commons license via NDLA

After two years of pandemic-imposed postponement, acclaimed writers from around the world are now due to submit their manuscripts to the Future Library: a 100-year art project based in Norway.

In June this year, the Norwegian novelist Karl Ove Knausgård (year 2019), Vietnamese American writer and poet, Ocean Vuong (year 2020) and Zimbabwean novelist, playwright and filmmaker Tsitsi Dangarembga will handover their manuscripts, which will remain sealed and unopened for 100 years.  

The library of the future

In Nordmarka, a forest just outside of Oslo, a thousand trees have been planted for an incredibly special purpose. In 100 years time, they will be used to make the paper for an anthology of books, which will form part of the so-called ‘library of the future’.

A path through the Nordmarka forest – where the footsteps of authors past, present and future will follow. Photo by  Kristin von Hirsch

The Future Library – Framstidsbiblioteket – is a 100-year artwork launched by Scottish artist Katie Paterson (read our interview with Katie here). From 2014 until 2114, one writer every year will contribute a text, with the writings held in trust, unpublished for up to 100 years. Each writer has the same remit: to conceive and produce a work in the hopes of finding a receptive reader in an unknown future.

The first writer to contribute a text was Margaret Attwood, with novelist David Mitchell adding his own manuscript the following year. Since then, the shelves of the future library have swollen with contributions from the likes of Elif Shafak and Man Booker prize winning author, Han Kang.

A milestone ceremony

Prior to the pandemic, each author had walked a special route through the Nordmanka forest as part of an annual handover ceremony. However, following the global outbreak of COVID-19, these have been paused.

The Future Library handover ceremony 2022 however promises to be a very special event, and a milestone for the visionary project: not only will the annual handover take place, but this year the ceremony will include the opening of the manuscripts’ resting place, the silent room in the new public library Deichman Bjørvika. 

The silent room will be home to all the manuscripts contributed to the project until their eventual publication in the year 2114. The room is designed by artist Katie Paterson and architects Atelier Oslo and LundHagem. The opening of this very special place marks an important milestone for the Future Library. 

Designing he silent room in the Oslo public library where the manuscripts will be stored for the next one hundred years. Photo credit: Atelier Oslo and Lund Hagem

On Monday the 13th of June a symposium on the topic of nature and future will take place in the new public library Deichman Bjørvika. It will be the first of the annual symposiums to take place the coming 93 years. All three authors being honoured this year will contribute to the conversations alongside the artist Katie Paterson, moderated by Claire Armitstead, Associate Editor, Culture, the Guardian. 

The events will be live streamed and spread worldwide. 

Find out more

To find out more about the Future Library, why not read our in-depth interviews with Katie Paterson, the creator of the Future Library, and with Anne Beatte Hovind, the curator of the project. Nothing in the Rulebook co-founder, Samuel Dodson, also speaks about the Future Library project on the award-winning “Better Known” podcast.

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