David Mitchell has become the second author to contribute to the Future Library project, submitting new manuscript From Me Flows What You Call Time, which won't be printed until 2114.
He follows Margaret Atwood in submitting work for Scottish artist Katie Paterson’s project, which sees a different author supplying a piece of writing every year for the next 100 years.
1,000 trees were planted in Oslo’s Nordmarka Forest in 2014, which will be used for paper to print the 100 texts at the end of the project. The authors are chosen by a panel of experts and revealed year-on-year.
Mitchell completed the work at 1am on the day he left for Norway, where he handed over one hard copy and one paper copy during a short ceremony in the forest on Saturday (28th May). He did not reveal what form the writing took, but described it as “somewhat more substantial a thing than I was expecting.”
The author, twice nominated for the Man Booker Prize, added to the Guardian that the work was “quite liberating, because I won’t be around to take the consequences of this being good, or bad… But I’m sandwiched between Margaret Atwood, and no doubt some shit-hot other writer. So it better be good. What a historic fool of epochal proportions I’d look, if they opened it in 2114 and it wasn’t any good.”
Contributors can submit any form of writing, the only requirement being that they do not speak about their work or show it to anyone. Paterson has, however, asked writers to approach “the theme of imagination and time, which they can take in so many directions.”
Mitchell continued: “It’s a little glimmer of hope in a season of highly depressing news cycles, that affirms we are in with a chance of civilisation in 100 years.
“Everything is telling us that we’re doomed, but the Future Library is a candidate on the ballot paper for possible futures. It brings hope that we are more resilient than we think: that we will be here, that there will be trees, that there will be books, and readers, and civilisation.”
The manuscript will now be sealed and placed alongside Atwood’s Scribbler Moon to be watched over by a trust of experts in Oslo’s new public library, which will open in 2019.