The best writers of the Future
The intriguing Future Library project is to get its second major donation tomorrow from novelist David Mitchell in Oslo, Norway. He follows in the literary footsteps of Margaret Atwood who launched the project last year.
Future Library is a public artwork by Katie Paterson (right) that will take shape in Oslo over the next century. Famous authors are asked to create a text for the library, with one writer submitting each year. These will be held in trust, unpublished, until 2114. A thousand trees have been planted in the Nordmarka forest outside the city, and these will supply the paper for a special anthology of books to be printed once the library is completed in 100 years’ time.
The manuscripts will be held in a vault the new Deichmanske Public Library, which will open in 2019 in Bjørvika, Oslo. The plan is that no adult living today will know what is inside the boxes, other than that they are texts of some kind that will, according to the organisers, “withstand the ravages of time and be technologically available in the year 2114”.
Atwood’s story from last year was called Scribbler Moon. Mitchell, now based in Cork, will hand over his text during an early-morning intimate ceremony in the middle of the Nordmarka forest while wood fires burn. The ceremony will be marked with coffee and chocolate.
Katie Paterson’s work has a particularly ambitious streak. Previous projects include mapping all the Universe’s dead stars, compiling a slide archive of the history of darkness across the ages, custom-making a light bulb to simulate the experience of moonlight, burying a nanosized grain of sand deep within the Sahara desert, and sending a re-cast meteorite back into space.
She is particularly delighted that Mitchell is this year’s contributor. “David Mitchell makes the world a spirited place,” she said. “His work is transporting and polyphonic, blending time, dreams and reality . . . His locked-away text will allow future generations to telescope into other worlds.”
Of the project Mitchell said: “For me it’s a vote of confidence in the future of culture. The project is a declaration of belief that, one century from now, despite the threats to civilisation posed by climate change and its deniers, by racist demagogues and by death-cultists, our great-grandchildren will still value trees, books, reading and narrative.’
For more, see futurelibrary.no. Laurence Mackin Adele and the detail inthe ‘£90m’ deal This week’s news that Adele had signed a £90 million contract with Sony Music has focused naturally enough on the singer’s significant win.
However, the truth is a little different. It doesn’t mean that Adele can walk into her local bank with a novelty-sized cheque and walk out with all the money in a big bag. She’ll get a big chunk of change right away, but it won’t be £90 million . Instead, the money will come in large dribs and drabs over the years depending on how the contract is structured.
Over the years, stories about million-dollar deals rolled out again and again, usually with new bands and involving multiple albums. These deals are handy shorthand from the band’s side to signify that the act have hit the big time. The stories rarely go into the minutiae of the contract, which show that all the options are with the label and they decide if the band will get a second or third album. Such boring detail gets away from the “million euro record deal” yarn, the music industry unicorn that so many Irish acts have encountered through the years (Jedward, if we remember right, had two of those deals).
In the case of Adele, it’s an old-fashioned move by singer and her team. Given the fact that she’s the biggest-selling act of the past few years, she could have decided to set up her own operation and license her music to Sony or whoever, thus maintaining complete artistic and logistical control.
While she’s sure to have a lot of the latter at her new home – could you imagine being the executive who decides to boss her around? – she could have had a whole lot more if she struck out with a new business model.
Sometimes, though, you just reach for the gold pen, sign on the dotted line and take the cash. Let’s hope it works out better than the £80 million deal Robbie Williams signed a few years ago.
A Norwegian literary project is putting novelists’ work in storage for a century