I expect many people have heard about this by now: there was an item on NPR’s Morning Edition on 27 May 2015.

This video explains the project nicely. Don’t despair — it’s not your speakers: the video is silent at the start.

I guess artists are in business to have unusual ideas. The artist in this case is Katie Paterson, a Berlin-based Scottish multimedia artist. She seems to have a certain organizational ability too, having arranged for a trust to care of the bit of Norwegian forest in which the trees are growing which will be used to make the paper on which the 100 typescripts accumulated unpublished over the next century will be printed. The more I think about it the more I like this project. It’s a sort of act of faith in the continuity of the book, of reading, and of course of humanity! I’m not sure they’ll really be able to segregate these particular trees in any paper mill of the future. Paper mills are big enough today: what will they be like in 100 years? (And, yes; I do think there will be paper mills in 100 years time.)

Margaret Atwood, a well-known forward-looker, has contributed the first work, Scribbler Moon. The typescripts are going to be stored in a special room in the new library now under construction in Oslo. Paterson assures us that no one, trustee or library visitor, will be able to read any of the works till the 100 years are up. From the point of view of the authors this would seem like a good deal. They are no doubt getting an “advance on royalties” now, while at the same time ensuring that they will still be being read in 100 years’ time.

The project is a commission of Bjørvika Utvikling, a large development project in Oslo.