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San Diego Decameron Project banner graphic
 
In October 2020, inspired by The Decameron written in the 14th century during one of the worst plagues in history, San Diego Public Library and partner organizations, Write Out Loud, the La Jolla Historical Society, and San Diego Writers, INK invited San Diego County authors to submit previously unpublished stories for the San Diego Decameron Project.
 
The top 100 winning stories are published on the four websites (25 per site). Visit our three partners to read the other winning stories.
 

Top 10 Winners

 
Presentation of the Top 10 stories of the San Diego Decameron Project including a Q&A discussion with the authors hosted by KPBS arts and culture reporter Beth Accomando. The program begins at 5 minutes in.
 
 
 

Photo of Nancy Alvarado
Nancy Alvarado
Story: PDF icon Rest
 

Watch Story Reading  Watch Author Interview

Nancy Alvarado is a local teacher and former columnist for the Chula Vista Star-News.

Author ShuJen Askew
ShuJen Walker Asker
 

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ShuJen Walker Askew explores a variety of genres. Her works are published in literary magazines at Mesa College, Grossmont College, and the San Diego Writers & Editors Guild. She is a journalist for Image Seed Magazine, writes scripts, and participates in the San Diego Writers Meetup Group. ShuJen completed her first novel, Across All Skies. She is a mother of two and enjoys writing. Visit: http://sywalker.com

Author Libby Brydolf
Libby Brydolf
 

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Libby Brydolf writes and hikes in San Diego.

Author Kristin Helms
Kristin Helms
 

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Kristin Helms is the author of Grace + Oak: Inspiration in Poetry and Photographs from Dover Publications, March 2020, and From Boardroom to Baby from Career Press/RedWheel Weiser, 2018. Kristin’s soulful prose and inspiring thoughts have been published in Literary Mama, PopSugar, Home & Garden Magazine, Motherly, and The Huffington Post. Visit: KristinHelms.com | Instagram: @KristinHelms_Writer

Author J.A. Jensen
J.A. Jensen
 

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

Photo of Jeff Meyer
Jeff Meyer
Story: PDF icon Escape
 

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Jeff Meyer, who has lived in San Diego for all but six years of his life, teaches English at Morse High School and participates in the San Diego Writer’s, Ink Memoir Read & Critique group facilitated by Danielle Baldwin. When not spending time with his family (wife Alex, children Jackson and Gabriella), he plays bass guitar in a yet-to-be-named local hard rock band and runs with the Silverfish Athletic Club.

Author Ona Russell
Ona Russell
 

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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. Visit: www.onarussell.com

Photo of Barrie Sands
Barrie Sands
 

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Dr. Barrie Sands is an Emergency Critical Care, Integrative Holistic Veterinarian. She is a publish author, journalist, and national and international speaker. She is a certified coach and trainer from the Institute of HeartMath facilitating emotional intuitive guidance, stress management and resilience building.  As founder of Illumina Sciencia, her mission is to bridge the gap between science and spirituality and co-create optimum wellness for both humans and animals. Visit: www.drbarriesands.com

Author Rick Seidenwurm
Rick Seidenwurm
 

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Rick Seidenwurm is a retired San Diego attorney who always wanted to write. His first book, Mostly Untrue Stories is available on Amazon.com.

Photo of Marivi Soliven
Marivi Soliven
 

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Marivi Soliven has authored 17 books, including The Mango Bride (Penguin, 2013), winner of the San Diego Book Awards and the Palanca Awards, the Philippine counterpart of the Pulitzer Prize. Her day job as a phone interpreter enriches her stories even as it allows her to support her immigrant community. Information about her creative projects can be found at https://marivisoliven.com/ and on Instagram @marvisoliven.

Stories

 
Photo of Robert Arends
Robert Arends
 
Robert Arends is a lifelong San Diegan and man of many hats: PR professional, travel writer, photographer. He was even once a radio DJ and nightlife columnist. An avid traveler, he enjoys road trip adventures, the tropics of Hawaii and The Philippines, and the desert-scapes of the Southwest. When he’s not caring for his silkie chickens (on Instagram @NutmegAndLadies), he delves into sci-fi, anything tiki, and the simple joys of gardening (@Groovestar).

Photo of Kelly Bargabos
Kelly Bargabos
 
Kelly Bargabos, author of Chasing the Merry-Go-Round: Holding on to Hope & Home When the World Moves Too Fast, writes as a witness to the spectrum of human experience in order to connect, share, shift paradigms, inspire, and ultimately expand our universe through words. Her writing has been published in literary journals, anthologies, and news publications. Chasing the Merry-Go-Round was a Nautilus Book Award winner and a finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards. Visit: www.kellybargabos.com

Photo of Brett Bookser
Brett Bookser
 
Brett Bookser and his wife live in Carmel Valley, where they raised two children. Brett got his Ph.D. in chemistry from UCSD where he learned to surf at Black’s Beach. He did a postdoc at UCSB, partly because of the proximity of the lab to a surfing beach. He returned to San Diego to work in Biotech. His main experience is with scientific writing. He has published more than 20 articles in chemistry journals.

Photo of Yubeen (Amy) Cho
Yubeen (Amy) Cho
 
Yubeen (Amy) Cho is a passionate writer who advocates for change and spreading awareness through her writing.

Photo of Lynda Felder
Lynda Felder
 
Lynda Felder grew up in Michigan and still points to her hand when she wants to show someone a location on a map. She taught college writing classes and has published Writing for the Web and The Web Writer’s Toolkit. After learning to make gorgeous hats, she discovered she had two great aunts and a grandmother who were also milliners.  She lives in San Diego with her husband and a sensitive yellow lab named Dennis.

Photo of Cornelia Feye
Cornelia Feye
 
Cornelia Feye is an art historian, publisher, and author of four mystery novels. Spring of Tears won the San Diego Book Award in 2011. House of the Fox, Private Universe, and Death of a Zen Master followed. She published two anthologies, Magic Mystery & Murder – a SDBA winner - and Modern Metamorphoses. She founded Konstellation Press, an indie publishing company of genre fiction. Publications include art historical essays and reviews in English and German. Visit: konstellationpress.com

Photo of Aaron Garretson
Aaron Garretson
 
Aaron Garretson grew up in San Diego. He attended UC High School and received a BS in biochemistry from UCSD and an MFA in fiction from Columbia University in New York. His writing has appeared in Carrier Pigeon, SLAB, Opium, Night Train, The Village Voice, and Mexico City's Hermano Cerdo (in translation), among others. He has been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize and was shortlisted for the Best American Nonrequired Reading. He currently works in an infectious diseases lab at UCSD.

Photo of Robert Gilberg
Robert Gilberg
Story: PDF icon Stardust
 
Robert Gilberg is a retired executive from computer and communications microelectronics who has received an Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Emmy for television anti-piracy systems. He is the author of four books: his memoir, The Last Road Rebel and Other Lost Stories,  novels Alice Chang, A Simple Twist of Fate, and Starvation Mountain, two of which were SDBA finalists. Visit: www.facebook.com/RobertGilbergBooks/  | www.kirkusreviews.com/author/robert-gilberg/

Photo of Shannon Haynes
Shannon Haynes
 
An unpublished author, most of Shannon Haynes’ printed work has been in advertisements, newsletters, customer materials for marketing, and the like. She's decided to take her creative writing seriously. Short stories are fun, and good practice!

Photo of Connie Henry
Connie Henry
 
Connie Henry grew up in a nomadic military family that left her with persistent wanderlust. Formerly a teacher, she writes, makes quilts, and battles procrastination in La Mesa, California.

Photo of Barbara Javor
Barbara Javor
 
Barbara Javor, Ph.D., is a biologist, animal lover, and writer in San Diego who weaves her scientific background into fictional stories. Published books include Antoine, Sprints, Stone’s Throw, and Violet and Jellybean.

Photo of Carolyn Kinnare
Carolyn Kinnare
 
Carolyn Kinnare holds a B.A. in English from UCLA and an M.A. in Communications (majoring in Screenwriting) from Loyola Marymount University. She is a married mother of three living in Encinitas with three rescue dogs and working in Athletics at Canyon Crest Academy High School in Carmel Valley. She is currently working on a novel in her spare time.

Photo of Jeannie Meigs
Jeannie Meigs
 
A Native American writer and artist, Jeannie Meigs has experience ranging from editing an anthology to exhibiting artwork in the Cherokee Heritage Museum to co-teaching a graduate class on collaborative writing and indie publishing. She earned a master’s in English and Writing. Memberships include San Diego Writers Ink, Sisters in Crime, Academy of American Poets, Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers, California Watercolor Association, and Society of West Coast Artists. Visit: http://www.jeanniemeigs.com | Twitter: Jeannie Meigs.

Photo of Jeff Meyer
Jeff Meyer
Story: PDF icon Escape
 
Jeff Meyer, who has lived in San Diego for all but 6 years of his life, teaches English at Morse High School and participates in the San Diego Writer’s, Ink. memoir read and critique group facilitated by Danielle Baldwin. When not spending time with his family (wife Alex, children Jackson and Gabriella), he plays bass guitar in the local hard rock band “Ablyss” and runs with the Silverfish Athletic Club.

Photo of Leah Ollman
Leah Ollman
 
Leah Ollman has been writing about art for the Los Angeles Times, Art in America and other publications for more than 30 years. She has contributed to numerous books and exhibition catalogues, and has recently completed a project exploring the intersection of poetry and photography. Visit: www.leahollman.com | @leahollman

Photo of Cynthia G. Robertson
Cynthia G. Robertson
 
A photographer and journalist for more than 30 years, Cynthia G. Robertson is the author of a blog, Shutterbug Angel, a unique visual devotional attesting to the everyday miracles and beauty she sees in nature around her. She has also written a novel, Where You See Forever, which was published last year. The novel’s settings include both Kansas and San Diego. Find out more about Cynthia and her work at www.cynthiarobertson.com.

Photo of Barrie Sands
Barrie Sands
 
Dr. Barrie Sands is an Emergency Critical Care, Integrative Holistic Veterinarian. She is a publish author, journalist, and national and international speaker. She is a certified coach and trainer from the Institute of HeartMath facilitating emotional intuitive guidance, stress management and resilience building.  As founder of Illumina Sciencia, her mission is to bridge the gap between science and spirituality and co-create optimum wellness for both humans and animals. Visit: www.drbarriesands.com

Photo of K.C. Sherwood
K.C. Sherwood
 
K.C. Sherwood is the author of Midnight At Moonglow's and The Sword Of Destiny, a middle grade adventure series with a bit of magic. She lives in Bonita, CA. When she's not writing, you can find her hiking, mountain biking, or going on her own fantastic road trip adventures with her daughter, Sadie. Follow on Facebook at Midnight At Moonglow's.

Photo of Tim Simmons
Tim Simmons
 
Tim Simmons is an administrator at a charter school in San Diego, an amateur writer and a proud member of San Diego Writers, Ink.

Photo of Marivi Soliven
Marivi Soliven
 
Marivi Soliven has authored 17 books, including The Mango Bride (Penguin, 2013), winner of the San Diego Book Awards and the Palanca Awards, the Philippine counterpart of the Pulitzer Prize. Her day job as a phone interpreter enriches her stories even as it allows her to support her immigrant community. Information about her creative projects can be found at https://marivisoliven.com/ and on Instagram @marvisoliven.

Photo of Scott Tinley
Scott Tinley
 
Local college professor, Scott Tinley really doesn’t like writing contests but feels that the element of competition has always and already catalyzed the innate artfulness in all of us.

Photo of Allen Tu
Allen Tu
 
Allen Tu is a 12th-grade student at La Jolla Country Day School. Born and raised in San Diego, he is looking forward to college, wherever he may go. Allen is passionate about the liberal arts, particularly fine arts, history, and literature.

Photo of Jennifer Whitelaw
Jennifer Whitelaw
 
Jennifer Whitelaw lives in La Mesa, California with her husband, two kids, and possibly too many pets. She has owned a communications firm for over 20 years and writes humorous essays, social media posts, and children’s books for fun. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English from UCLA and a postgraduate degree in Urban Planning at UCSD. She has won multiple awards for her business and news writing. She’s a past recipient of SD Metro’s 40 Under 40 and Best Marketing Professionals awards.

Photo of Janet F. Williams
Janet F. Williams
 
Janet F. Williams provides editorial services, development, critique, and private coaching for fiction and non-fiction. She teaches creative writing and speaks at writers’ groups. Williams authored the triple award-winning self-help book You Don’t Ask You Don’t Get (2010), and used her pen name, Zoe Amos, for lesbian romances Superior (2013) and Talk To Me (March 2021). In her spare time she writes the stories she likes to read. Visit: www.janetfwilliams.com and www.GoodDayMedia.com.

Photo of Wilda Wong
Wilda Wong
 
Wilda Wong’s family left Hong Kong shortly after the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests. Her family came to San Diego, where Wilda joined her high school paper as a features editor, later earning a film degree as a first-generation college student. She has since traveled to six continents and lived or worked in four. Wilda is lucky to have spent the pandemic in University Heights with her roommate, Rox, and cat, Steve.

The San Diego Decameron Project

 
The San Diego Public Library, Write Out Loud, the La Jolla Historical Society, and San Diego Writers, INK invited San Diego County authors to submit stories for the San Diego Decameron Project. This project 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. Winners will have their stories posted on one of the partners’ websites beginning in February 2021 (25 per site). The top 10 most compelling stories will be read by Write Out Loud actors and presented in a virtual presentation also premiering in February. All stories submitted will be digitally archived with the San Diego Public Library and La Jolla Historical Society.
 
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.
 
A list of related resources including books and web links is available.

Congratulations to the Authors!

The following authors will be included in the San Diego Decameron Project Anthology!

Nancy Alvarado
Lisa Ambler
Robert Arends
ShuJen Askew
Kelly Bargabos
K.A. Bergan
Cory Blancet
Brett Bookser
Helen Broady
Kevin A. Brown
Libby Brydolf
Taffy Cannon
Jim Caputo
Thelma Virata de Castro
Yubeen Cho 
Leslie Clark
meghan conley
Madeleine Cowee
Janice Coy
Lauren Cross
D.B. Cunningham
Lydia Cutler
Sarina Dahlan
Martha K. Davis
Susan Delgado
Jeff Duclos
Lynda Felder
Cornelia Feye
Clara Frank
Claudia Torres Garibay
Aaron Garretson
Robert Gilberg
Anna Glynne
Kelley Gusich
Raymond Hardie
Shannon Haynes
Kristin Helms
Connie Henry
Janis Heppell
Anastasia Hipkins
Peter Hodsdon
Jonathan Horn
Barbara Huntington
Barbara Javor
J.A. Jensen
Louise Julig
Melissa Karolides
Aditi Kavi
jack keane
Cherie Kephart
Janelle Kim
Carolyn Kinnare
​Daina Krigens
Ondine Brooks Kuraoka
William Lamb
Lisa Lampert-Weissig
Diane C. Lowrie
Robert Thomas Lundy
Melissa Mandel
Ross Mann
Irene A. Márquez
Chau Master
Brenna McKee
Michael Jude McMahon
Maureen Meadows
Jeannie Meigs
Jeff Meyer
Nancy Nygard
Leah Ollman
Barrie Owens
Elizabeth S. Pappas
Marilyn A. Pate
J. R. Quirk
Opal Reinbold
Cynthia G. Robertson
Kyle G. Roesler
Natasja Rose
Ona Russell
Barrie Sands
Karen Scanlon
Ainsley Schafer
Rick Seidenwurm
K. C. Sherwood
Tim Simmons
Marivi Soliven
Kara Stevens
Mike Stewart
Victoria Tenbrink
Scott Tinley
​Nancy Tomich
Aimee Truchan
Allen Tu
Thomas Waldron
Mary Lindenstein Walshok
Karen Waters
Jennifer Whitelaw
Janet F. Williams
Lisa Witz
Cora Womble-Miesner
Wilda Wong
Marilyn Woods

Resources

 
What's So Special About SDPL's Special Collections: The Decameron of Giovanni Boccaccio
 
 
 

Behind the Desk: Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio
 
 
 
 
 
San Diego Decameron Project partners' logos
 
Funding has been provided by California Humanities and the State of California through the California State Library.