With Spain under lockdown and suffering serious consequences from the coronavirus crisis, EBL—the self-publishing project of Spanish media conglomerate Grupo Planeta—has put out out a call for stories for an anthology of literature about the crisis. Dubbed "Stories of the Quarantine," the project is soliciting nonfiction, poetry, and fiction related to the coronavirus crisis, and will publish a free-to-read e-book comprised of 25 selections.
News of the project was quickly picked up by the national media in Spain, said project manager Enrique Parrilla, CEO of Seville-based Lantia Publishing, which manages EBL on behalf of Planeta. "A story was broadcast on the national news over the weekend, which gets 13 million viewers each night and then spread to other outlets. It was astonishing how quickly submissions started flooding in and they have not stopped." He said that the stories being submitted were often heartwrenching, but added that they were not all bleak. "One man, an electrician who works long hours, wrote about how the lockdown has made him the happiest he has been in a long time because it means he has been able to spend so much time with his family."
After the popularity of the Spanish-language call for stories, EBL expanded the submissions to include English-language works, which will also be published in a separate anthology. (EBL is new on the scene in English, having only launched its English-language program last month.) Submissions for either anthology are limited to 2,000 words and the deadline is May 1.
"We know that people across the world are suffering, particularly in New York, and we wanted to give people the opportunity to express themselves and see themselves in print," said Parrilla. "Working together and sharing our experiences is the best way for us to make it through this trying time together. Maybe we can even come out of this a little stronger. This is our small way of contributing and doing our part for the global community."