You can't read author Ocean Vuong's new work until 2114


By AGENCY
  • Books
  • Friday, 21 Aug 2020

Ocean Vuong joins the ranks of Margaret Atwood, David Mitchell, Sjón, and Elif Shafak, whose manuscripts will be held in trust in a specially designed room in the New Deichmanske Library in Bjorvika, Oslo. Photo: AFP

The American-Vietnamese author and essayist Ocean Vuong is the latest contributor to the Future Library project, which sees contemporary authors pen literary works that will remain unread until 2114.

The world-renowned authors participating in the ongoing project are selected by the Scottish visual artist Katie Paterson, who chooses them for "their outstanding contributions to literature and poetry and for their works' ability to capture the imagination of this and future generations."

"Ocean writes with a radiance unlike any author I know. His poetry and prose is raw and fearless, capturing the essence of survival. In a year of unprecedented global suffering, we are fortunate to welcome to Future Library this remarkable writer, a leading voice of the young, LGBT+ immigrant experience," Paterson told the Guardian.

Vuong joins the ranks of Margaret Atwood, David Mitchell, Sjón, Elif Shafak, Han Kang and Karl Ove Knausgaard, whose manuscripts will be held in trust in a specially designed room in the New Deichmanske Library in Bjorvika, Oslo.

The authors' names and titles of their works will be on display, but none of the manuscripts will be available for reading until their publication in one century's time.

As the Guardian pointed out, authors contributing to the Future Library are barred from revealing too many details about their manuscripts, which are not even read by Paterson.

They are later handed to the Scottish artist in a short ceremony in the Nordmarka forest, just outside Oslo, where 1,000 trees are currently growing to supply the paper on which the 100 manuscripts of the Future Library will be printed in 2114.

Speaking to the Guardian, Vuong revealed that he has yet to start his literary work for the Future Library.

"We are in a pandemic. We have a highly charged election ahead. I've been telling my students on Zoom, it is OK if you don't write. So I am thinking about it, what I would want to leave behind," he told the publication.

While details about his forthcoming manuscript are still scarce at this point, Vuong is the author of the New York Times bestselling epistolary novel On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous, which was notably a finalist for the 2020 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

Published in June 2019 by Penguin Press, the novel will soon be translated in more than 30 languages. - AFP

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