Lockdown Diaries 2020
Stories of strength and endurance by London’s women writers of Colour
“I always dismissed the possibility that I could write something that I completely invented. I made assumptions about what I could do, based on the fact that most of the authors I read, growing up, were not from my background. They weren’t black, poor, working-class, second-generation immigrants, with a black Caribbean single mother raising 4 children in a council flat.” Sandra Howell
12 London women chronicled their lives through the spring and summer of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement. These diaries provide a unique, written record of an unprecedented time, capturing the many faces and the many moods of lockdown. They write with candour and clarity, allowing us to explore their worlds, sentence by sentence…
The Blue Sky
Lola Clinton speaks to her mother, long passed on, and to her daughter in real life, via WhatsApp. She places George Floyd’s death in the context of 400 years of exploitation. But the smell of fresh herbs makes her smile and the blue sky makes her hopeful.
Why am I Thinking of
Margaret Woherem is thinking of Anne Frank. The narrative on social media moves from Corona Virus to Black history. The destruction of Tulsa, colonial atrocities and medical experimentation foreshadow 1930s Germany, as the impact of the virus on Black people sinks in.
Mounira Chaieb feels the invisible shackles of her lockdown sentence. She endures the 7-day a week noisy renovations from the house next door. She notes the changing attitudes to mask wearing. But can she escape incarceration to travel overseas?
The Bitter and the Sweet
Monia Dakhli’s son and daughter-in-law spending lockdown in her house delivers a central role in the arrival of a granddaughter. A new life fighting her way into London at time when the report of the death toll from the pandemic is a feature of daily life.
My Love Left but
I Found My Star
Champagne knows that the news is depressing, but her young son Mali needs occupying. They have mother and son games nights. Birthdays are a challenge, but how hard can a Zoom party be? The other man in her life is anything but dependable. Thank goodness writing proves a great distraction.
Sandra Howell saw herself as a reader, not a creative writer, but recently that has changed. Lockdown brings back the roller coaster of emotions experienced after she confounded the medics by surviving a Road Traffic Collision in 2006. Now she can express this in poetry.
One Day, Any Day
Pippa Sterk adapts to home working and video meetings, while measuring out her lockdown by counting: rooms in the flat, house spiders on the prowl, leaks in the bathroom. She needs to get out of the house. At least the goslings in the park haven’t noticed the pandemic.
Laura Sampson always knew that one day, Childhood would “unspool to reveal the Real World. But Right Now ‘Real World’ is suddenly a whirl of cotton candy licked up and swallowed, a feast for Corona. Lockdown comes Unreal thing. How long for? How long is a ball of string?”
Collage Writing Room empowers unheard voices to reach new audiences. These pieces of creative writing were developed remotely during the Corona Virus pandemic, Lockdown Diaries which reveal the lived experiences of women from North London in the time of the COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter movement.