The Birdcage Archives

Sunday 8 December 2019

Literary News that was Missed

Hello Gentle Reader

As two-thousand and nineteen comes closer to its conclusion, before heading into a new decade of the ‘twenty-twenties,’ there was news overlooked or missed, during the previous two months, because life always gets in away. Yet I’d like to comment on two noticeable events that happened near the end of October.


First up, is the Future Library Project named its chosen writer for the year two-thousand and nineteen: the Norwegian mammoth autobiographical chronicler, Karl Ove Knausgård. The induction of Knausgård marks a return to the Western Hemisphere for the Future Library Project, and a return to Europe. Karl Ove Knausgård becomes the sixth writer to being included in the project, where he shares company with:

[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,”
[2018] Han Kang – “Dear Son, My Beloved,”

In inducting Karl Ove Knausgård, the project founder Katie Paterson called Karl Ove Knausgård an exceptional author of the contemporary era, as his epic multi-volume autobiographical work, has been called an outstanding and albeit controversial work of literature.

Karl Ove Knausgård has already begun to work on his manuscript for the project, but as is customary can say little to nothing with regards to the work. After all the entire projects writers are expected to write a manuscript which will stay sealed for a hundred years before being published. At which point the authors, the project founder (Katie Paterson), and everyone else of the now will have already died. The project has been praised for its time capsule quality which calls forth a future that waits, despite the threat it will come to an end in the coming decades. All of the writers who have contributed to the project have called it liberating and surreal. Margaret Atwood, ironically commented on how she will most certainly now survive the test of time, of whether or not she’ll be read in a hundred years, while also commenting on the surreal prospect that her voice will be awakened a century down the line, after she herself has long since been absent, and her own voice silenced.

Karl Ove Knausgård is expected to hand over his manuscript on May 23 2020.


Speaking of Margaret Atwood, two-thousand and nineteen has been quite a year for the recently turned octogenarian author. The release of her much anticipated sequel to “The Handmaid’s Tale,” called: “The Testaments,” saw readers head out in droves for what had become the publishing event of the year. New readers and old readers, alike eagerly awaited the novel, reviews popped up immediately after, and Margaret Atwood head on to a book tour, answering questions, and signing books. She jointly won the Man Booker International Prize with Bernardine Evaristo (though not without slight controversy). Despite the praise, the great reviews, and the warm media attention (she was featured on the cover of Time Magazine); Margaret Atwood lost her partner Graeme Gibson. Suddenly of course, the attention turned from the book to the prying interest of the recent loss of her partner. Margaret Atwood, ever graceful and charismatic diffused and moved around the subject, returning the questions to the focal point of her appearance.

In late October, Margaret Atwood received a royal honour from Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II: the Order of the Companions of Honour. This royal honour is a rare one. Under Queen Elizabeth the II’s reign, this honour has only been received by three Canadians. Margaret Atwood received this honour at Windsor Castle, during an investiture ceremony. Atwood described the experience as emotional, but an honour of a lifetime.

Congratulations are certainly in order for Margaret Atwood; it’s been quite a year. Throughout it all, Margaret Atwood has been a pinnacle of grace and charm, putting up with the same conversations from journalists, and while being thoroughly engaged with her readers who do stop to see her.

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

M. Mary

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