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A novel is achieved with hard work, the short story with inspiration.

Isabel Allende   

San Diego Decameron Project

Logo for the San Diego DeCameron Project. Historicl image of three women and one man sitting in a garden with a fountain.

The San Diego Decameron Project is organized by the San Diego Public Library, San Diego Writers, Ink, Write Out Loud, and the La Jolla Historical Society.  It is inspired by The Decameron, a book written shortly after the Black Death overtook Florence in 1348, and a collection of novellas structured as a frame story by Italian author Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375).  The book contains 100 stories told by a group of seven young women and three young men sheltering in a secluded villa. They fled Florence to quarantine themselves for two weeks from the pandemic that ravaged Europe between 1347-1351. To pass the evenings each member of the party tells a story each night, except for one day a week for chores and one for religious observance, resulting in ten nights of stories over the course of two weeks. 

For the San Diego Decameron Project, local authors were invited to submit previously-unpublished fiction or nonfiction narratives based loosely around the theme of the current pandemic. Twenty-five judges read all submissions and chose the top 100 stories, which are posted on one of the partners websites.  All stories will be digitally archived with the San Diego Public Library and La Jolla Historical Society.  The top 10 most compelling stories will be read by Write Out Loud actors and presented in a virtual presentation premiering on February 26, 2021. to register for this event, go to

The importance of this project is threefold.  First, there is every intention to let creative writers comment on the present experience; to help all of us unpack and understand this moment; to reflect on what it means to live through the COVID pandemic as related through the written word.  Second, during this time we’re all staying at home more, and as a result, people are reading more.  So to some degree, there’s been a rediscovery of the narrative form, the written word, and this project very much relates to that notion. Finally, there is this idea that we’ve been here before and survived.  The 14th century Decameron was written during one of the worst plagues in history.  Yet humanity survived, the human condition recovered, civilization re-emerged, and the early traces of the Renaissance resulted only a few years later and then carried on for two centuries.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria shared "The Decameron Project is an important archive to capture our city's stories during the pandemic. As a history major myself, I deeply appreciate that these pieces feature events both big and small as a permanent record of San Diegans' tragic and uplifting moments during this unprecedented time."

YOU CAN READ 25 STORIES BELOW, and click on the Decameron Project webpage of our partner organizations to access the other stories.

Write Out Loud was founded in 2007 with a commitment to inspire, challenge and entertain by reading literature aloud for audiences of all ages. Core programs include a six show Story Concert season, Twainfest, PoeFest, Listen To This,Poetry Out Loud, Read Imagine Create and World Kamishibai Forum.

San Diego Public Library is the largest library system in the region and serves a population of more than 1.3 million people. Its mission is to inspire lifelong learning through connections to knowledge and each other. Learn about other events at the New San Diego Central Library @ Joan Λ Irwin Jacobs Common and 35 branches, find links to numerous additional resources, or search for materials in the Library's online catalog at  It is the place for opportunity, discovery, and inspiration.

San Diego Writers, Ink nurtures writers and fosters a literary community by serving as a hub for the literary community, promoting literature, providing artistic development for writers at all levels and facilitating artistic collaboration.

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Cousin Ernie by Mike Stewart

Mike Stewart graduated from the University of Arkansas in 1987 and earned a Masters Degree from George Washington University in 1992.  After a federal career working nationally and internationally, Mr. Stewart now does some consulting and is concentrating on his writing and drawing.  He and  his wife currently reside just east of San Diego, CA.

Cousin Ernie

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The Nature of Humanity by Ainsley Schafer

Ainsley Schafer is a student at Otay Ranch High School in Chula Vista, California. She has always had a passion for all forms of writing and reading. Ainsley has a keen interest in stories involving dystopian societies and the human condition. Her experiences growing up in San Diego has shaped both herself and her writing for the better.

The Nature of Humanity

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The Bus Ride by J.A. Jensen

J.A. Jensen is a member of the Mystery Writers of America & the Horror Writers Association.

The Bus Ride

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Not For Sale by Janice Coy

Janice Coy is the author of six riveting novels readers find hard to put down. She is a finalist at the San Diego Book Awards Association. Her work appears in five anthologies. She’s an award-winning former journalist and avid reader. Her experiences as a hiker, scuba diver, bicyclist, and finisher of six half-marathons provide a rich background for her writing. Her novels can be found at, IG @janicecoyauthor, FB Janice Coy.

Not For Sale

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Going Back IN by Barbara Huntington

Barbara Huntington is a silver-haired hippie, zoology major, civil rights worker, teacher, and retired premedical advisor at SDSU. In other times, she traveled with her dog, Tashi. She writes memoir, fiction, poetry and attempts to make sense of the world while pursuing an MFA at SDSU.  Publications: Serving House, Guilded Pen, San Diego Writers: A Year in INK, Chachalaca Review, Somersault, Ekphrastic Review, San Diego Poetry Annual, Bards against Hunger. Memoir Showcase, Shaking the Tree. Blog:

Going Back IN

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Waiting Room by Thomas Waldron

Tom Waldron is a former high-school teacher who, now unburdened by stacks of English papers needing to be graded, has begun to write. In the Fall of 2019, he enrolled at Grossmont College, taking courses in creative writing including short fiction and novel writing.  You can find more of his work in his blog, Retired, Not Dead at He is now hard at work on his first novel, Mercy.

Waiting Room

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Cicada's Song by Diane C. Lowrie

Diane C. Lowrie, M.A. Expressive Arts Educator. I come from a family of storytellers. My grandparents gave me a lifelong love of language. Sharing this passion, I’ve also written music and poetry which wind their way into my work with individuals with exceptional needs.  I enjoy being able to share my experiences at the local library, giving presentations workshops, and in my most recent book, "A Glorious Journey Together" (2019).  

Cicada's Song

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The Geography of Hiding by Melissa Karolides

Melissa Karolides teaches yoga and hiking in the Exercise Science & Wellness department at Grossmont College. She’s a certified Chopra meditation instructor and has taught about 5,000 people to meditate. She loves rock climbing, cooking, skiing, skating, SUPing, hiking, backpacking, and meditating in trees. She finds writing and editing exciting, like a puzzle with pieces swimming around in mental soup, begging for assembly. Currently, she's completing a memoir. Website/blog:,,,

The Geography of Hiding

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In The Tent by Ona Russell

Ona Russell holds a PhD in literature from UC San Diego, where she has also taught for many years. She is the author of three award-winning historical mysteries and numerous published essays, academic, and legal articles. Her most recent book, Son of Nothingness: A Novel of Appearances, was released in Sept. 2020. Ona is also a credentialed mediator and book club facilitator. For more info, please visit:

In The Tent

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The Denunciation of Demosthenes by Michael Jude McMahon

I am an Irish author with short stories featured in the last three years in the San Diego Writers and Editors Guild Anthology with many short stories completed along with four novels.    

The Denunciation of Demosthenes

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Wednesday Warriors by Susan Delgado

Susan Delgado is a native Californian. She is married and has two beautiful daughters. She is Creative Director of her jewelry site Thousand Watt Co. Susan enjoys learning the craft of writing continually with authors Lisa Fugard and Windy Lynn Harris. Her writing has appeared in The Kelp Journal, The Sunlight Press, and will be featured in Madville Publishing next year for an anthology. She finds writing to be essential in life.

Wednesday Warriors

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236 Days of Solitude by Victoria Tenbrink

Victoria is a retired Biologist living a quiet life in  Escondido, California. The natural beauty and the perfect climate of this hidden valley contribute to her creative process.  Escondido is also home to The Chaparrel Institute and the EcoLife Foundation, two of her favorite sources of inspiration.

236 Days of Solitude

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Life in a Box by Ondine Alegra Kuraoka

Ondine Alegra Kuraoka is a social worker who writes fiction and poetry. She’s working on a short story collection about the pandemic and is in the revision stage of her first novel. She lives in San Diego with her husband, two sons and a rescue dog. If not writing or reading, she loves quiet walks, crochet and ukulele practice. Visit her:

Life in a Box

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The Abbey by Aditi Kavi

Aditi loves sour tea, biology, and art. Starting from Tintin comics, she discovered a new hunger for reading and art, and now picks up a pen whenever she can. She lives in Del Mar with her brother, parents, and two cats.

The Abbey

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The Last Drop by J.R. Quirk

J. R. Quirk's recent memoir, COMPASSIONATE WARRIOR, and his novel, BAKER'S CORNER A MYSTERY IN CODMAN SQUARE, are available from Amazon and other booksellers. He lives in Fallbrook, California with Priscilla Lyons, his college sweetheart. He is a retired California State Park and National Park Superintendent.

The Last Drop

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May 2020 by Karen Waters

Karen Waters is a member of the East County Writers' Group.  She is a health planner by trade.

May 2020

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An Unlikely Alliance by Karan Scanlon

Karen Scanlon is an award-winning freelance author, historian, and educator who writes extensively on the maritime history of San Diego. She is also a Certified Lay Minister in the United Methodist Church and writes Sunday School curriculum and also ‘sermon starters’ for United Methodist Publishing House. Volunteers at Cabrillo National Monument, Karen and twin sister, Kim, tend the lens and lantern of Old Point Loma Lighthouse. The two co-authored the book, “Lighthouses of San Diego.”

An Unlikely Alliance

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The Case of the Broken Eggs by D.B. Cunningham

D.B. Cunningham holds a Master of Arts degree in English from California State University Northridge. She has published a novel, The Aloha Diary. Her stories and poems have appeared in various literary magazines. She has retired from a career as a systems analyst and is a long time resident of San Diego.

The Case of the Broken Eggs

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Staying in Touch by Helen Broady

Helen moved here from New York a year ago to be near family.  She writes about the transition during this difficult time.  Helen works as a librarian at Central library loves discovering what she can about past and present San Diego.

Staying in Touch
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Love The Moon by Nancy Tomich

Journalist and editor, she has published in both magazines and newspapers.

Love The Moon

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Confessions of an (Almost) Full-Time Grandmother by Clara Frank

Clara Frank was born in Budapest, Hungary. She is a retired Hospital Epidemiologist, a Red Cross Volunteer, and a proud grandmother of two grandsons. Clara recently had published two short stories and an essay in literary magazines and is working on a full-length novel in which most of the action takes place in Hungary under German and Russian occupation.

Confessions of an (Almost) Full-Time Grandmother

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Peachies and COVID by Anastasia Hipkins

Anastasia Zadeik-Hipkins is an author, editor, and writing coach. Dedicated to helping writers bring their stories to the page, stage, and screen, she serves as Director of Operations for the San Diego Writers Festival and sits on the board of the literary nonprofit So Say We All. She regularly performs in narrative nonfiction showcases, and her work has appeared in The Literary Vine Review and Shaking the Tree: Brazen. Short. Memoir.

Peachies and COVID

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Exodus by Cora Womble-Miesner

Cora Womble-Miesner was born and raised in San Diego, CA. She graduated from NYU and her writing has been featured in Mr. Beller’s Neighborhood. You can find her on twitter @red91corolla.


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Big Time In A Small Town, A Pandemic Meet Cute by Aimee Truchan

Aimee Truchan is a healthcare marketing executive with a passion for writing. An East Coast transplant, Aimee has called Southern California home for the last 16 years but remains a loyal Philadelphia Eagles fan. She loves to travel, especially to Paris, but will settle for a comfortable chair and a glass of champagne anywhere she can people-watch.  You can also find her hiking Torrey Pines, wandering the farmers markets or reading on the beach.

Big Time In A Small Town, A Pandemic Meet Cute

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Pandemic Love by Janelle Kim

Janelle Kim is a third-year literature major at the University of California, San Diego. She hopes to one day publish her own collection of short stories and/or poems, but in the meantime, she is looking at the bright side of the pandemic and doing her best to enjoy the extra time with her family and her housemates.

Pandemic Love
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