Future Library project

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The Future Library project (Norwegian: Framtidsbiblioteket) is a public artwork that aims to collect an original work by a popular writer every year from 2014 to 2114 and to share them with the world only then. One thousand trees were specially planted for the project in the Nordmarka forest at its inception;[1] the 100 books will be printed in limited-edition anthologies using paper made from the trees. The Guardian has referred to it as "the world's most secretive library".[2]


The project was conceived by Katie Paterson during the summer of 2014. It is managed by the Future Library Trust and supported by the City of Oslo, Norway. It was produced for the Slow Space public art program and commissioned by Bjørvika, Oslo's former container port, and its development corporation.[3]

The manuscripts will be held in a specially designed room at the new Deichman Library (Oslo Public Library) currently under construction in Bjørvika, Oslo.[4][5] Katie Paterson has been working with the architectural team to design this part of the new public library.[6] The collected works will be on display but the manuscripts will not be available for reading.

The Future Library Trust's committee of trustees will make a new selection annually based on the criteria "outstanding contributions to literature or poetry, and for their work's ability to capture the imagination of this and future generations."[7] Umberto Eco and Tomas Tranströmer, both deceased as of 2016, were previously considered as potential contributors. All other authors approached by Paterson have accepted the invitation.[8]

One thousand certificates entitling the holder to the full anthology in 2114 are being sold by the artist's galleries: Ingleby Gallery (Edinburgh), James Cohan Gallery (New York) and Parafin (London). Initially sold for £625, the price increased to £800 in 2017.[9][10]


The Future Library project has attracted criticism for its emphasis on preventing readership between 2014 and 2114.[11] One of the few details known about the books was revealed accidentally when David Mitchell stated that his book quotes the lyrics of Here Comes The Sun, a song expected to enter the public domain in the late 21st century.[8] Writing for Flavorwire, Moze Halperin called the project "art whose intention is to exclude a few generations" and criticized the class exclusivity planned for the works even after they are released.[12]


The identity of each contributing author is announced yearly around October; they then submit their manuscripts to the collection the following spring. Current contributors to the collection are:


  1. ^ "'Future Library' Reminds Us How Connected Books And The Environment Really Are". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2015-08-09.
  2. ^ a b Flood, Alison (2018-08-31). "Han Kang to bury next book for almost 100 years in Norwegian forest". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  3. ^ "Future Library – Framtidsbiblioteket - Katie Paterson". p. About. Retrieved 2015-08-09.
  4. ^ Thorpe, Vanessa (November 23, 2014). "Reader offer: buy a Katie Paterson Future Library limited-edition print". the Guardian.
  5. ^ "In English". Retrieved 2015-08-09.
  6. ^ "Creatives in profile – interview with Katie Paterson". nothingintherulebook. 2018-05-23. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
  7. ^ Mumford, Tracy. "A library that won't be read for 100 years". www.mprnews.org. Retrieved 2015-08-09.
  8. ^ a b Wood, Gaby (2017-01-13). "The Future Library: Why you face a big wait to read any of the books". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  9. ^ Thorpe, Vanessa (2014-11-23). "Reader offer: buy a Katie Paterson Future Library limited-edition print". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-11-07.
  10. ^ "Future Library | Edition | Ingleby Gallery". www.inglebygallery.com. Retrieved 2015-08-09.
  11. ^ Tiede, Maggie (2018-09-05). "Margaret Atwood, Han Kang, and more will bury their new novels for 100 years. What do you think about the Future Library Project?". Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  12. ^ Halperin, Moze (2016-05-06). "John Malkovich's Silly Cognac-Based '100 Years' Project Raises Important Questions, Even If We'll Never See It". Flavorwire. Retrieved 2018-09-10.
  13. ^ Flood, Alison (2014-09-05). "Margaret Atwood's new work will remain unseen for a century". The Guardian. Retrieved 2014-09-07.
  14. ^ Alison Flood, Into the woods: Margaret Atwood reveals her Future Library book, Scribbler Moon, The Guardian, 27 May 2015.
  15. ^ Clarke, Patrick (May 31, 2016). "David Mitchell buries manuscript for Future Library project". The Bookseller.
  16. ^ Cowdrey, Katherine (October 14, 2016). "Icelandic writer Sjón named next Future Library contributor". The Bookseller.
  17. ^ Hovind, Anne Beate. "Join us as Sjón presents his manuscript to Future Library". MailChimp. Retrieved 9 August 2017.
  18. ^ Flood, Alison (2017-10-27). "Elif Shafak joins Future Library, writing piece to be unveiled in 2114". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-11-07.
  19. ^ "Future Library Upcoming Events".

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