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From Edge Hill University News … an excerpt about 100 Words of Solitude
An Edge Hill Creative Writing tutor and her partner have collected 100 powerful stories and poems from people all over the world and put them into a new book, 100 Words of Solitude: Global Voices in Lockdown 2020, which is being sold to raise money for UNICEF and other humanitarian charities.
Dr. Philippa Holloway, Associate Tutor in Creative Writing, was inspired by the sacrifices of NHS staff and charity workers on the front lines during the pandemic and wanted to do something to help people.
She put out a call for people to write literary responses to the isolation caused by the pandemic, with the aim of publishing the 100 most impactful pieces. It didn’t take long for the callout to go viral on social media, attracting stories and poems from all over the world.
Philippa said: “This project started in March as the UK lockdown got underway, my husband and I were thinking about how we could help the community. We’re not doctors or nurses, so how could we help?
“We’d both previously taught creative writing for MIND and know writing can help people with their mental health, help people feel less alone and to express themselves. For me a great example of how the project gave people a voice is a piece by an 11-year-old Pakistani boy. He wrote a really moving, revealing story and thanks to this project his story is now published alongside world renowned writers and poets.”
100 Words of Solitude Lockdown Inspired Anthology
How we turned lockdown isolation into a global polyphonic collection exploring solitude…
There is a myth that the writer is a lonely and isolated creature, working locked away somewhere, observing but not interacting with the world. I’m sure most writers would agree that while there are moments where elements of this myth might ring true, the reality is far less ‘romantic’ – writers have families and friendships, often have other jobs, and are very much part of the world. After all, real, busy populated life is where writing is fomented, tested and finds meaningful connections. So, while the 2020 lockdowns might seem like the perfect condition for writers, the reality is that the situation has had an impact on everyone differently.
As writers and teacher ourselves, my partner and I knew we were lucky to be able to retreat safely into online work and isolate at home when the lockdowns reached the UK in March 2020, but we also knew the effects on people’s lives and mental health over the coming months would be significant. Sitting up late one night we found ourselves talking about whether we could do something, anything, to help. And over the cutlery-scarred wood of our kitchen table, mugs of comforting coffee clasped in hand, 100 Words of Solitude was conceived.
If you’d told me that night that the idea of connecting writers and readers in isolation would lead to emotional and enlightening email conversations with hundreds of writers from all over the world, would provide a view of how the lockdowns affected diverse different cultures and lives, and eventually result in a publishing contract for a collection of 100 word vignettes and poems exploring the global impact of solitude and isolation in relation to the lockdowns, I wouldn’t have believed you. But this is what happened. An idea, gone global.
The Munster Express Newspaper Art review section
Book Review by Liam Murphy
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