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Han Kang’s unpublished novel under wrap to be unveiled in 95 years

Han Kang’s unpublished novel under wrap to be unveiled in 95 years

Posted May. 27, 2019 08:08,   

Updated May. 27, 2019 08:08


Novelist Han Kang transferred on Saturday the script of her unpublished novel, which will be published in the year 2114, to “The Future Library,” a public art organization in Norway at a ceremony.

The Future Library project is collecting unpublished literary works from a writer each year for 100 years from 2014 to publish them the same year. The literary works will be published by using 1,000 trees that will be planted for 100 years in the outskirts of Oslo, Norway. Han Kang is the fifth writer that has participated in the project, and her novel will thus be published 95 years from now.

Han Kang’s novel for the project is entitled “Dear Son, My Beloved,” but its length, theme and storyline have not been disclosed, and will be kept as secret while being stored under wrap at the library in Oslo. Han Kang handed over the script wrapped in white cloth to Scottish artist Katie Patterson, who started the project, at the ceremony held at “the Future Library Forest.”

“I feel like my script is getting married with the forest, or like it is a small funeral for the script to wait until it will be reborn, or a lullaby to give long sleep that gently touches the Mother Earth,” Han Kang said at the ceremony. “I have wrapped the script with white cloth, because Koreans use white cloth when making traditional Korean jacket for newborns, sobok (mourning clothes), and bedding cover.”

The Korean novelist also narrated her commentary on what she felt when she was selected as this year’s writer of the year for the Future Library. “The moment I wrote the first sentence, I should believe in the world 100 years from now. I should believe in the unsubstantiated dream that the history of human beings will not have become phantom that have disappeared, and that the earth will have not become a tomb or ruins,” Han said in the commentary. “This project is prays for 100 years, in which we are striving for something amid uncertainties.”

The ceremony brought together more than 200 people including the mayor of Oslo, officials from the foundation, and journalists from worldwide. After the ceremony, Han Kang had a conversation with independent journalist Rosie Goldsmith at the Oslo Public Library.

Min Kim kimmin@donga.com