SPECIAL FEATURE Our Corona Diary project

Jo E. Verrill looks at an exciting new project from SCBWI-BI members, which aims to get children writing about their corona crisis experiences

From Samuel Pepys on the plague to Anne Frank on World War II, and Nelson Mandela on apartheid, diaries have always been a window to extraordinary events in history.

A group of award-winning children's writers have set up an exciting new online project to encourage young people to keep their own diaries throughout the coronavirus crisis - with the aim of building an online archive and published anthology that can become part of the historic record of these exceptional times.

Anne Frank's Diary

Kathryn Evans, who won the 2016 Edinburgh International Book Festival First Book Award for her debut novel More of Me, was inspired to create Our Corona Diary after reading Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl. Kathryn recalls:

It was all the small, ordinary details that struck me. She was recording her family’s daily lives in hiding: how they managed things like celebrations, how they got irritated with each other. It was clear she felt completely disenfranchised. Everyone treated her like a child…but history has shown us that she had very important things to say.

Evans collaborated with fellow award-winning authors Candy Gourlay, Jo Wyton, Addy Farmer and Matt Killeen to create the Our Corona Diary website, where children can submit their diary entries. 

 Candy Gourlay introduces her comics diary on Instagram (© Candy Gourlay)

It should prove to be a fascinating insight into the spinning cogs of today's youngsters as they go through this life-changing event. As Carnegie-shortlisted Candy Gourlay observes, 

‘A diary can give focus and meaning to a difficult experience. We believe that this will be an important record of our children’s daily lives through this historical disruption.’
Parents of bored children will also be delighted to find the website links to a multitude of inspirational resources that authors and illustrators have produced in response to the pandemic. 

Full details can be found at www.ourcoronadiary.com.

Follow the project’s progress on Instagram @OurCoronaDiaryGram (#ourcoronadiary) and Twitter @OurCoronaDiary (#ourcoronadiary).

Cover image © Our Corona Diary Team 



Kathryn Evans 
Kathy is an award-winning author of teen novels living on a farm near Chichester. She loves dancing and fencing.

Candy Gourlay
Candy is a Filipino author living in London whose novels have been shortlisted for the Carnegie, Costa, Waterstones and Blue Peter Prizes.  

Jo Wyton
Jo is a UX Designer who writes novels for young adults and was a winner of the Undiscovered Voices anthology competition in 2012.

Addy Farmer
Addy is the author of many picture books for young children and the chair of the North Lincolnshire Children’s Literacy Trust.

Matt Killeen
Matt spent a decade as an advertising copywriter, sportswriter and music journalist before publishing his first novel, Orphan Monster Spy, which was shortlisted for the Costa Prize.


Jo E. Verrill used to work at a radio station, telling off presenters for swearing on air, but has recently quit to pursue her dream of being the funniest children’s writer in the world. She has finished four books to date, which are too good for publication. Jo does not photograph well. 

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