British Columbia

Publishing house looking for stories written during COVID-19 pandemic

Muskeg Press, based in Prince Rupert, B.C., has put out a call for submissions from writers to be compiled into a book of literature written during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Publisher inspired by classic short story collection The Decameron, set during the Black Death

Muskeg Press in Prince Rupert is encouraging writers to write a short story to be part of a COVID-19 book, to be published later this year. (Minerva Studio/Shutterstock)

A publishing house in northern B.C. is hoping the extra time people have while isolating at home will result in some great words put to paper. Muskeg Press, based in Prince Rupert, B.C., has put out a call for submissions from writers to be compiled into a book of literature written during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Publisher Chris Armstrong was inspired by an article he read about Isaac Newton's productivity during the Great Plague that hit London in the 1600s. Then a student at Cambridge, he fled to a family property and came up with early calculus and the laws of motion. 

That led Armstrong to think about Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio, who published The Decameron in 1351, a book of 100 stories told from the perspective of a group of people trying to escape the Black Death. 

"I learned a bit about Boccaccio in school," he told Daybreak North host Carolina de Ryk. 

"But it didn't really touch me until, I guess when you're actually living in something it becomes a bit more real."

That's when he decided that he wanted to put together a book of stories written during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

"I think we will be talking about this for many, many years to come," Armstrong said. 

"It's part of our cultural fabric right now no matter where you live."

Armstrong is asking for short stories, but will also take poetry and in some cases, may accept non-fiction. He would prefer for the stories to not be about dealing with COVID-19 from a personal perspective, but to act as a distraction for the writer.

The deadline for submissions is June 30, and anyone across Canada can submit a story. Authors of stories that are chosen for the book will be paid $350.

Armstrong hopes to have the book published by Christmas this year. 

"Hopefully by Christmas time we'll be together with our families and friends again and telling stories about how we survived the whole thing," he said.

Chris Armstrong of Muskeg Press joins Carolina de Ryk. 6:17

If you have a COVID-19-related story we should pursue that affects British Columbians, please email us at impact@cbc.ca

With files from Daybreak North

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