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Chronicling the Days

Chronicling the Days

Dispatches from a Pandemic

By Linda M. Morra Marianne Ackerman

Where were you when the pandemic hit? While the shock of COVID-19 was fresh, the Quebec Writers’ Federation sent out a call to its members asking for short descriptions of life under lockdown. The response was immediate and heartfelt. Written and posted online between April 6 and May 26 of 2020, these dispatches—including several from the front lines—are first-person stories of hunkering down, gasping for air, facing challenges, getting through. Mainly written from isolation, the pieces present reading and writing as constant themes: trying, failing, being blocked, and finding renewed purpose. Award-winning author Susan Doherty opens the volume with a dramatic account of her own close call: how the man who saved her life unknowingly put her in danger of infection. Poet Rachel McCrum and writer Crystal Chan, who shepherded the project, reflect in their closing remarks on how the experience created community, and delivered unexpected insight into the power and purpose of chronicling our days. This book is a collaborative effort to document a time like no other. The cover image, a re-imagined detail from a seventeenth-century engraving of a plague doctor wearing elaborate personal protective equipment, links our present to a past in which disease was a decisive player. It is a moment we are not likely to forget anytime soon.


Guernica Editions (Essential Anthologies Series)


260 pages |

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About the author

Linda M. Morra is a Full Professor (Bishop's University) and a former Craig Dobbin Chair (2016-2017). Her book, Unarrested Archives, was a finalist for the Gabrielle Roy Prize in 2015. She prepared an edition of Jane Rule's memoir, Taking My Life, shortlisted for the international LAMBDA prize in 2012.

A long-time Montrealer, Marianne Ackerman was born in Belleville, Ontario. She has an MA in drama from the University of Toronto and studied French at the Sorbonne. Her three published novels include the best-seller Jump. A frequently produced playwright, her comedy Triplex Nervosa, the first of the Triplex Nervosa Trilogy, premiered at the Centaur Theatre in 2015.