A New York Times Sunday Book Review “New & Noteworthy” title of 2021.
“Vivid testimony to the depth and breadth of suffering during this uniquely stressful time.”
Edited by Andrea Scrima and David Winner, published November 1, 2020.
(9781944853754, 280 pages, Outpost 19 Books).
In a time when the virus and the viral political climate form a single continuum, we’d like to announce Writing the Virus, an anthology compiled from the Corona Issue published online at StatORec magazine from mid-April to September 2020. Its 31 authors—among them Joan Juliet Buck, Rebecca Chace, Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer, Barbara Fischkin, Edie Meidav, Caille Millner, Uche Nduka, Mui Poopoksakul, Roxana Robinson, Jon Roemer, Joseph Salvatore, Liesl Schillinger, Andrea Scrima, Clifford Thompson, Saskia Vogel, Matthew Vollmer, and David Dario Winner—explore the experience of lockdown, quarantine, social distancing, and the politicization of the virus from a wide variety of perspectives: tracking the virus’s progression from epidemiological threat to international crisis and sketching out the evolution of Corona’s rapidly changing meaning over the past half year. One of the first to offer advance praise is Jacquelyn Mitchard:
The essays and reportage in StatORec’s new anthology are about time: Time is upon us. Time may be running out. Time is lost; time is found. This is a new time, in which our Western predilection to plan is revealed as a cardboard construct, blown down by an enemy contained in a breath. Yet with its literary response in real time, this dedicated issue stands as witness to our illusions and our failures but also to our tenacious willingness to love and to learn.
ADDITIONAL PRAISE FOR WRITING THE VIRUS:
We live in the era of the pandemic, more than one million still die each year of TB, 700,000 from HIV and AIDS, nearly half a million of malaria. And since January: COVID-19. As I read Writing the Virus, the death toll from this new disease surpassed one million. The scale of this loss is unimaginable. We need to feel it one person at a time, which is exactly what Writing the Virus does with its moving diaries and essays, with its psalms of grief. This is a hard issue to read, but it preserves the truth of a bitter, bitter time, maybe it will even help us mourn. A task many of the world’s most powerful governments have proven unwilling and even eager not to do.
—John Freeman, author of How to Read a Novelist and The Park; editor of the Freeman’s anthologies
The months spent living in the shadow of the pandemic have compressed and expanded time in unusual ways. Writing the Virus is an important and compelling reminder of the days we might otherwise lose to the haze of the past and evidence of the myriad reckonings—public and personal—that will shape us going forward.
—Oscar Villalon, Editor, Zyzzyva
If a literary remedy could soothe the nested anxieties of our current moment, Writing the Virus would be the antidote we’ve been seeking. This bold new anthology from the editors of StatORec draws on 30 essays, stories, excerpts, and poems published on the magazine’s website as the pandemic unfolded. The authors, including Edie Meidav, Uche Nduka, and Liesl Schillinger, share trenchant investigations and paeans to love and survival while the irregular rhythms of locked-down days undulate beneath the surface. This impressive anthology lets readers view the virus, racial violence, and volatile political climate as a triad within a continuum. A testament to the vital role of writers—as witnesses, chroniclers, translators, synthesizers, resistors—during uncertain times, Writing the Virus will energize, enrage, and give you reasons to be hopeful. The anthology’s epic scope reveals why 2020 is an inflection point, the year of plagues and miracles.
—Margot Douaihy, Editor, Northern New England Review
Covid-19 is the new normal, an unprecedented cultural shift that pressurizes our communities and estrangements, requiring us to reinvent the discourse we use to describe the “everyday.” This anthology provides us with vital and thoughtful dispatches from inside the virus’s transformative, insidious tedium. Vulnerable, bold, tentative, utopic, Writing the Virus gave me un-Zoomy succor from some of the best essayists writing today.
—Carmen Giménez Smith, author of Be Recorder and Cruel Futures
This mighty chorus of voices, carefully mixed and layered, pierces the muddled noise of our pandemic moment. How thrilling and comforting to witness some of our most powerful writers wielding their best weapons against “the invisible enemy”—shimmering artistry, ruthless candor, and a fearless gaze.
—Debra Jo Immergut, author of You Again and The Captives
How to take the temperature of this crisis, this opportunity, this nightmare, this wake-up call? Writing the Virus rounds up a wonderfully diverse array of voices, each addressing—in its own singular, memorable way—all that the pandemic has laid bare. This collection gives us what we need now: talented writers of all stripes, weighing in with honesty, vigor, anguish, and hope. Read this book: it’ll help.
—Martha Cooley, author of The Archivist and Thirty-three Swoons
Recorded and now on Youtube: Andrea Scrima speaks with Cheryl Sucher as part of the “Between Two Worlds” series about editing the new anthology Writing the Virus.