The Birdcage Archives

Saturday, 1 September 2018

The Future Library Project Names Newest Writer

Hello Gentle Reader

It’s been four years since the Future Library Project has begun and its first secret manuscript has been locked away from the world for a hundred years—that would Margaret Atwood’s “Scribbler Moon.” Since then, three other writers have been asked to relinquish an original piece of literary work to the project; they include: David Mitchell from the United Kingdom, Sjon from Iceland, and Elif Shafak from Turkey. The newest writer to be inducted into the Future Library Project is the internationally renowned (South) Korean writer, Han Kang.

The induction of Han Kang will mark the first time the Future Library Project has left the North American and Europe sphere of influence, and enter the Far East. Han Kang is a unique choice for the project; she’s a recent international literary breakthrough. Her novel “The Vegetarian,” won the Man Booker International Prize, and was critically acclaimed, as has been her novel “Human Acts,” and her uniquely poignant poetic modernist autobiographical portrait: “The White Book.” Since her prize winning novel “The Vegetarian,” Han Kang has been a constant star on the literary scene and translated literature. Her themes, however, are universal as they are subversive of the everyday cruelty, injustice, madness, and violence which transpire throughout the world on a day to day basis, as well as give commentary on the fragility and frailty of human life in all its precious preoccupations. Katie Paterson, the artist behind the project, remarked that Han Kang’s work can be at times uncomfortable, as it forces the reader to confront the blatant transience of life; a loss of trust in humankind, the acts of mourning and remembering, but also about the shared ideal of human dignity, which in today’s world is a triumphant beacon of hope, but sadly is never boisterous enough to echo louder over the ranting and raving lunacy of contemporary society.  

The Future Library Project has been kind enough to honour such wonderful writers of today whose manuscripts when they are published a hundred years from now will echo their authors original voices, far beyond when they themselves have gone silent lost to both memory and time. The time capsule not only preservers their work, but also their spirit and voice for a hundred years, when it will be released once again, at which point it will echo through the forest, in a time and a society yet completely foreign to it.

I have not had the pleasure of reading Han Kang; yet, I do view her in contrast to her contemporary Bae Suah. Yet, Bae Suah, is more an outsider then Han Kang perhaps; and her work is noted for being more cerebral in scope and delivery; whereas Han Kang is said to occupy the heart and soul of society; Bae Suah, occupies the mind and the shadow. Both writers I presume (as I’ve only read Suah) are remarkable in their talents, and I do hope Bae Suah, will be considered for the project as well in the near future as well.

For now Han Kang will draft a manuscript to join the works of the following authors and their manuscripts:

(2014) Margaret Atwood – “Scribbler Moon,”
(2015) David Mitchell – “From Me Flows What You Call Time,”
(2016) Sjon – “As My Brow Brushes On The Tunics Of Angels or The Drop Tower, the Roller Coaster, the Whirling Cups and other Instruments of Worship from the Post-Industrial Age.”
(2017) Elif Shafak – “The Last Taboo,”

Perhaps the greatest pity of the future library project is we will not be around to read the anthology of voices of this age being presented to the world a hundred years from now. It’s a curious thought what they’ve written, and what remarks they have made on contemporary society and the world, and what kind of society and world will greet them when they have been awakened from their capsule.

Congratulations to Han Kang for receiving the honour to join the project and offer her own voice to the chorus of the past which will sail through time, only to be reawakened a century later to be read, analyzed, and pondered on.

Thank-you For Reading Gentle Reader
Take Care
And As Always
Stay Well Read

M. Mary

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