Who Gets to Tell the Story of Wuhan’s Lockdown?
The quarantine diary emerged in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic as the genre de rigueur in response to the crisis and trauma, both personal and global, brought on by the coronavirus. As a literary form, the diary is perfect for capturing the immediacy of emotional experiences and ongoing uncertainties. It is kind to fragments and negative space and does not require perfection. The public diary shares many strengths with the traditional private diary but has a social aspect closer to blogging and letter writing; it seeks connection with others who are (or have become) physically distant. Thus, as the coronavirus pushed us further and further away from any sense of normalcy or a predictable future, diary writing—both public and private—became one way for people to hold on to small certainties.