Author Clock’s Whimsical Design Interweaves Time + Literature

Part clock and part literary archive, this fiction-infused product rethinks how time is told

Checking the time throughout the day isn’t often fun or memorable, yet the Author Clock—launching today on Kickstarter—is designed to change that. Using literary quotes that mention a specific time, this charming clock conveys each minute within the day. These quotes, sourced from over a thousand books across six centuries, deliver the hour while conjuring famed fictional worlds—from Virginia Woolf to William Shakespeare—turning temporality into a whimsical event.

The idea to infuse literature into time-telling began with the 2010 art installation, The Clock by Christian Marclay. It featured a 24-hour looped film, using scenes from movies to display the minutes of the day. The work prompted an article in The Guardian to do the same with books in place of film. This eventually found its way to Author Clock founder Jose Cardona. “After coming across The Guardian’s article about a literary clock over seven years ago, I immediately wanted to purchase one, and I thought for sure someone would make one soon,” he tells us. “As the years passed, the closest thing I saw were small DIY projects and screen savers. After becoming a mechanical engineer and working in product design, I decided to make the Author Clock myself.”

As the clock came to fruition, so too did its deeper purpose. The piece doesn’t just function as a meter for the day; it champions a diverse set of historical and contemporary prose. “Our hope is that Author will help readers discover new books, authors and even genres,” Cardona continues. “And that displaying Author will spark conversations with friends, family and co-workers.”

Part literary archive and part talking prompt, the Author Clock functions as a statement piece for the home or office. It’s built using white oak wood from sustainable forests, capturing the easy elegance of the unit’s mid-century design. The wood framing, juxtaposed with the black front bezel (crafted from recycled plastic) highlights the paper-like screen, making the timepiece adaptable to a variety of decor.

The sustainability efforts around the product are furthered after production. Author Clock works with One Tree Planted to plant a sapling for every clock sold. The clocks themselves come in two varieties: a small, four-inch display ($99) that’s suitable for a desk or bedside table or a larger 7.5-inch display ($199) with a removable base to mount on walls or bookshelves. Both sizes launch today on Kickstarter.

Following the release, Cardona seeks to continue sourcing quotes from fictional works and involving the literary community’s own quotes to accompany the Author Clock. “Many of our backers are avid readers, reading over 100 books a year,” he explains. “By recruiting our backers, we’re confident that at the end of the campaign we’ll have the most complete list of quotes that mention time in the world.”

All images courtesy of Author Clock