SEOUL, Having been chosen as the fifth contributor to the Norwegian government-sponsored public arts project “Future Library,” South Korean novelist Han Kang has said the program constitutes “a one hundred-year-long prayer,” her literary agency said Friday.
The 2016 winner of Man Booker International Prize was announced last week as this year’s writer to contribute to the project. Works by 100 renowned authors will be compiled, kept in secret and published a century later on paper made from the trees of a special forest cultivated for the project.
It was launched in 2014 by a Scottish artist with the concept of conveying the meaning of hope and trust by connecting time and life. The previously selected writers include Margaret Atwood of Canada and Elif Shafak of Turkey. The final 100 works will be published in 2114.
“If we can call the moment when we have to take one step toward the light despite all the uncertainties a prayer, this project would probably be something close to a one hundred-year-long prayer,” Han’s agency, Munhak Dongne, quoted her as telling the organizer of the literary project.
It was “horribly bleak” to imagine the world after 100 years, Han said, adding that she realized that she has to ponder the concept of time in order to write for this project.
“I also realized that … I have to recognize once again that this insufficient, impossible tool called ‘language’ is in fact a channel open to those who will read it,” Han said.
“So finally in the moment I write the first sentence, I have to believe in the world one hundred years from now, the unlikely possibility that there would still be people who will read what I write … as well as the thinly founded hope that this globe will have not yet become a massive ruin,” according to Han.
Han is one of the most globally acclaimed South Korean novelists and the first Korean author to be invited to the Norwegian art project.
Han’s novel “The Vegetarian,” translated by Deborah Smith, won Man Booker International Prize in 2016, and another of her works, “The White Book,” made it as far as the shortlist for the same award in 2018.
Source: Yonhap news Agency