The International Authors Forum (IAF) and La Federazione Unitaria Italiana Scrittori (FUIS), the Writers’ Union of Italy recently held an online event, Creating a Better World Post-Covid, which invited authors to reflect on their experiences of Covid and authors’ organisations to talk about what they are doing to support authors at this time. The purpose of the event was to draw on the positive outcomes and solidarity that could be harnessed from what we have learnt and experienced in different countries as a result of this unique circumstance.
As part of the event, FUIS presented its project Diary in Coronavirus, which collated writing from Italy and around the world to publish in weekly instalments on its website and in print editions of the international magazine Formafluens. The project aimed to bring authors together, to motivate them to keep working and to produce a collective record of this extraordinary experience at a time when publishing activities had ceased.
During the first panel of the event, Maggie Gee from the UK; Gilgamesh Nabeel, an Iraqi writer who lives in Turkey; Carlos Wynter from Panama; Sumit Raj from India; and Jorge Comensal from Mexico all commented on what had inspired them to write during the pandemic and shared moving poetry, as well as information about how both the substance and practicalities of their work had changed. Gabonese artist, Françoise Allmendinger also provided a short animation.
The second panel was an opportunity for representatives from different authors’ organisations to focus on the specific problems they had encountered and displaying their ingenuity in finding new ways to work and find opportunities for authors to work effectively in a new reality. We heard from Anita Daher from The Writers’ Union of Canada, Reema Selhi from the Design and Artists’ Copyright Society, Umair Kazi from the Authors Guild, Francis Gbormittah from the Ghana Association of Writers and Vera Michalski-Hoffman UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and founder of the Jan Michalski foundation. Short films from Olivia Lanchester from the Australian Society of Authors and Faye Cura from Granata Press in the Philippines were also shown.
IAF and FUIS would like to thank all the participants for taking the time to share their experiences as part of this event.