Corvidae Diary in Stroud


My short story ‘The Corvidae Diary’ has been selected as one of the 10 to be read at Stroud Short Stories 20. Originally planned for April, the event (ironically entitled ‘Disruptions’!) has understandably had to be postponed to November, due to the restrictions recommended by the Coronavirus AKA COVID-19.

I am delighted to be reading again, this will be my third time, following ‘A Winter Wedding’ in 2015 and ‘Cargo’ in 2018.

The Corvidae Diary is possibly the most topical story I have ever written. Its narrator, stuck in self-isolation following the outbreak of a virulent virus, contemplates his life and attempts to work from home while enduring the Climate change protesters camped outside his apartment building. Slowly, as his daily temperature readings rise to dangerous levels as the virus takes hold, he begins to accept a connection between the biosphere, the virus and the enthusiastic young protesters he resents yet comes to admire.

I named my virus Corvidae after mishearing/misreading COVID-19 as CORVID-19. I think I assumed that the WHO (in an act of spectacularly dark humour) had selected CORVID from Corvidae, the order of Passerine (it’s to do with the configuration of their toes) singing birds including the carrion birds Ravens, Crows & Magpies.

I once studied a famously gloomy Scottish poem (about death, naturally) entitled ‘The Twa Corbies’, Corbie (from Corvidae) being an old Scottish word for Raven.

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