A determined group of Coventry creatives have released a book that captures what the city went through during the first Covid-19 lockdown.
Described as a “mega community endeavour”, Yesterday’s Diary is a patchwork of poetry, prose and fiction inspired by the lockdown experience.
The anthology brings together 117 stories from all ages across the city.
They include tales of giving birth in lockdown, dressing up for Joe Wickes’ PE sessions and even a poem about what life must have been like for the squirrels who live at Coventry Cathedral.
The project has been put together by members of the Sitting Rooms of Culture Facebook and grassroots group and bestselling children’s author and Cov kid in exile Cathy Cassidy.
The actual idea for the book arose out of the ‘Coventry Couch Potato Challenge’. The challenge was launched in the summer by Sitting Rooms of Culture and Cathy Cassidy.
People were invited to conjure up a poem or short story inspired by the experience of lockdown and there were hundreds of responses.
Cathy collected and collated the contributions, which also included brief biographies from all of the contributors. Hundreds of hours of time were volunteered by a “small army” of people in the community to make the project happen.
Cathy Cassidy said: “People from all backgrounds and occupations have bared their hearts and shared their feelings – schoolkids, students, mums, dads and grandparents, the shielding, the carers, published poets and complete novices.
“Their words are woven together to create an anthology that is powerful and inspiring – sometimes sad and searingly honest, sometimes warm, humorous and hopeful. The best and bravest of Coventry’s resilience and spirit is right here.”
Mary Courtney from Sitting Rooms of Culture said: “We have got some brilliant endorsements and it is beautifully produced! What a boon to not only have bestselling author Cathy Cassidy chose the contents, but to have an award winning publisher of poetry books publishing the book!”
The fundraiser also benefited from a donation from local fundraiser Michael Mogan, who gifted £222 towards the creation of the book.
Mr Mogan said: “As a great supporter of culture and the arts,I mentioned to my wife, Karen, and twin eight-year-olds, Hattie and Alice, that some super local artists were looking for support to help create a book of poetry. The Mogan crew unanimously agreed to gift £222 towards the creation of the book.”
The book was published as a result of a community Crowdfunder, which is still running to cover the costs of bringing more books to print.
A Sitting Rooms of Culture spokesperson added: “We could not be more excited to finally see this book in print! It has been such an inspiring project to work on and we hope the community can pull together to help to fund the final stage, please help if you can.”
Copies of ‘Yesterday’s Diary’ are available for pre-order from the Fair Acre website:https://fairacrepress.co.uk/shop/yesterdays-diary-an-anthology-of-coventry-in-lockdown/
The cost of the book is £9.99 plus £3 postage and packaging. Any and all profits raised from the book sales will be used to support creativity and wellbeing in Coventry and the surrounding area.