Statement of Record

Writing the Virus


Writing the Virus


We’d like to announce Writing the Virusan anthology compiled from our Corona Issue, published from mid-April to September 2020.

Its 31 authors—among them Joan Juliet Buck, Rebecca Chace, Edie Meidav, Caille Millner, Uche Nduka, Mui Poopoksakul, Roxana Robinson, Jon Roemer, Joseph Salvatore, Liesl Schillinger, Andrea Scrima, Clifford Thompson, Saskia Vogel, Matthew Vollmer, and David Dario Winner—explore the experience of lockdown, quarantine, social distancing, and the politicization of the virus from a wide variety of perspectives: tracking the virus’s progression from epidemiological threat to national crisis and sketching out the evolution of Corona’s rapidly changing meaning over the past half year.  


Kirkus writes: “Vivid testimony to the depth and breadth of suffering during this uniquely stressful time.”

The works in this collection, all of which predate the 2020 election, regard the virus and the viral political climate as a single continuum. Writing the Virus includes a haunting story that explores the psychological dimensions of an anti-Asian hate crime with a curiously absent culprit; hallucinatory prose that gropes its way through a labyrinth of internalized fear; a historical essay on the post-Cold War militarization of the police and the racist roots of police brutality; poems that probe racism’s dark and violent undercurrent in American society; and an essay that appeals to the power of love in the Black community as our strongest and most promising force for change. One of the first to offer advance praise is Jacquelyn Mitchard: 

The essays and reportage in StatORec’s new anthology are about time: Time is upon us. Time may be running out. Time is lost; time is found. This is a new time, in which our Western predilection to plan is revealed as a cardboard construct, blown down by an enemy contained in a breath. Yet with its literary response in real time, this dedicated issue stands as witness to our illusions and our failures but also to our tenacious willingness to love and to learn. 

Praise is also forthcoming from John Freeman, Oscar Villalon, Margot Douaihy, Carmen Giménez Smith, Michael Ravitch, Debra Immergut, and Martha Cooley: 

How to take the temperature of this crisis, this opportunity, this nightmare, this wake-up call? Writing the Virus rounds up a wonderfully diverse array of voices, each addressing—in its own singular, memorable way—all that the pandemic has laid bare. This collection gives us what we need now: talented writers of all stripes, weighing in with honesty, vigor, anguish, and hope. Read this book: it’ll help. —Martha Cooley, author of The Archivist and Thirty-three Swoons

We live in the era of the pandemic, more than one million still die each year of TB, 700,000 from HIV and AIDS, nearly half a million of malaria. And since January: COVID-19. As I read Writing the Virus, the death toll from this new disease surpassed one million. The scale of this loss is unimaginable. We need to feel it one person at a time, which is exactly what Writing the Virus does with its moving diaries and essays, with its psalms of grief. This is a hard issue to read, but it preserves the truth of a bitter, bitter time, maybe it will even help us mourn. A task many of the world’s most powerful governments have proven unwilling and even eager not to do. —John Freeman, author of How to Read a Novelist and The Park; editor of the Freeman’s anthologies

If a literary remedy could soothe the nested anxieties of our current moment, Writing the Virus would be the antidote we’ve been seeking. This bold new anthology from the editors of StatORec draws on 30 essays, stories, excerpts, and poems published on the magazine’s website as the pandemic unfolded. The authors, including Edie Meidav, Uche Nduka, and Liesl Schillinger, share trenchant investigations and paeans to love and survival while the irregular rhythms of locked-down days undulate beneath the surface. This impressive anthology lets readers view the virus, racial violence, and volatile political climate as a triad within a continuum. A testament to the vital role of writers—as witnesses, chroniclers, translators, synthesizers, resistors—during uncertain times, Writing the Virus will energize, enrage, and give you reasons to be hopeful. The anthology’s epic scope reveals why 2020 is an inflection point, the year of plagues and miracles. —Margot Douaihy, Editor, Northern New England Review

Reading events: 

November 18: Dixon Place, Brooklyn
Rebecca Chace, Andrea Scrima, and David Winner will read as part of the Guerrilla Lit series. Moderated by Marco Rafalà. 
November 23: McNally Jackson, New York
Andrea Scrima speaks with Cheryl Sucher as part of the “Between Two Worlds” series.
December 11: Brotfabrik, Berlin
Berlin launch with Christian von der Goltz, Mark Kanak (reading for Alexander Graeff), Scott Martingell, Mui Poopoksakul, Andrea Scrima. Moderated by Amanda DeMarco. 

Video Playlist:

The downtown Manhattan performing arts space HERE Arts Center has been featuring a video each week of our authors reading short excerpts from their essays, poems, and short stories in an exclusive #stillHERE with StatORec playlist.

“We wanted to compile a record composed of as many voices as possible, before we began forgetting things.”

from an interview with the editors in the September issue of The Brooklyn Rail.

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About the author

Editor-in-chief Andrea Scrima studied fine arts at the School of Visual Arts in New York and the Hochschule der Künste, Berlin, Germany, where she lives and works. A German translation of her first book, A Lesser Day (Spuyten Duyvil), was published by Literaturverlag Droschl, Graz, in 2018 under the title Wie viele Tage. Scrima writes literary criticism for The Brooklyn Rail, Music & Literature, Schreibheft, Manuskripte, and other publications. She writes a monthly column for 3QuarksDaily and is currently working on her third book. Her second book, a novel titled Like Lips, Like Skins, is due to come out in a German edition in the fall of 2021. Check out her website Stories I tell myself when I can't get to sleep at night for more information.

About the author

David Winner is the author of Tyler’s Last and The Cannibal of Guadalajara. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, The Kenyon Review, The Iowa Review, The Millions, and other publications in the US and the UK. He is the fiction editor of the Rome-based magazine, The American, a contributing editor for, and a regular contributor to the The Brooklyn Rail.

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