Penguin is publishing a series of exclusive essays from a number of its leading authors, offering their response to Covid-19. The project starts with the perspectives of Malorie Blackman, Lee Child, Edith Eger, AC Grayling, and Philip Pullman, published today (20th April), on its website.
Penguin said it had asked the selected writers to reflect on what they the crisis is revealing about us all, and what kind of a world they want to see when we come through the other side.
From the world of fiction, Blackman, Child, and Pullman, plus Nick Hornby and Deborah Levy, will be "documenting this unprecedented time and the issues they believe it has unearthed". Meanwhile from the non-fiction side, authors including Adam Kay, Jung Chang, A C Grayling, Lewis Dartnell and Edith Eger will "explore the impact of the pandemic through the lens of their own experiences and areas of specialism".
All the essays will be published on penguin.co.uk across the next month, to together capture a variety of different perspectives, concerns and hopes for the future – according to Penguin, "forming a snapshot of the Covid-19 crisis and its potential implications, as well as a manifesto for how individuals, communities and societies might emerge stronger and more united in its wake".
The first five essays are published today, covering topics ranging from climate change to stoicism.
Blackman writes about how the pandemic should lead us to a fairer society: "It seems to me that after this pandemic is well and truly over we all have a choice. Do we go back to the societal system we had before, where individualism and ‘pulling up the ladder’ were applauded and lauded, or do we try to adopt a more caring, communal attitude, understanding that the fate of our neighbours is inexorably linked to our own?"
Pullman meanwhile looks at how the government response to Covid-19 has been lacking: "It’s all got to change. If we come out of this crisis with all the rickety, fly-blown, worm-eaten old structures still intact, the same vain and indolent public schoolboys in charge, the same hedge fund managers stuffing their overloaded pockets with greasy fingers, our descendants will not forgive us."
Highlighting that 2020 is Penguin's 85th anniversary year, Penguin said the series "follows in the spirit of founder Allen Lane". The second set of the series will be published next Monday (27th April).