San Diego Decameron Project

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Program Description

Event Details

San Diego Public Library, Write Out Loud, the La Jolla Historical Society, and San Diego Writers, INK invite San Diego County authors to submit previously unpublished fiction or nonfiction work for the San Diego Decameron Project. 

The San Diego Decameron Project is inspired by Giovanni Boccaccio's The Decameron, written shortly after the Black Death hit Florence in 1348, which takes place during that time of plague. In the story, 10 young Florentines, 7 women and 3 men retreat into self-isolation for two weeks in a villa in the hills and pass the time by telling stories, one each per day except for one day a week for chores and one for religious observance, resulting in 100 stories. 

The San Diego Decameron Project seeks to find 100 stories (of a 1000 words or less) from within our local community, based loosely around the theme of the current Covid-19 pandemic of 2020. Winners will have their stories posted on one of the above participant sites. The top most compelling stories will be read by Write Out Loud actors and presented virtually and/or in person in 2021.


The deadliest pandemic recorded in human history, the Black Death (1346-1353) ravaged Europe and parts of Asia and Africa, resulting in the deaths of up to 75 million. During the Covid-19 Pandemic of 2020, new Decameron projects have been popping up all over the country. Most notably, the New York Times Magazine tapped 29 authors to write works of new fiction to "help us unpack and understand this moment."

Rules and guidelines regarding the submissions process

  • Eligibility is limited to authors that reside in San Diego County only
  • No previously published work may be submitted
  • Only (1) fiction or non-fiction work per author. No poetry submissions
  • Manuscript must be single spaced and not exceed 1000 words
  • Pages must be numbered, and the title must appear on every page
  • Use 12 pt. standard fonts, .doc or .docx files. PDFs, JPEGS or other file types will not be accepted
  • Please do not include your name anywhere in the text of your submission
  • All submissions are due by November 1. The first 500 entries will be judged 
  • Genre, tone, and subject are entirely up to you - the only content requirement is that your story be based loosely around the theme of the current pandemic

The San Diego Decameron Project uses a blind submission process and will be judged by representatives from the sponsoring organizations. Judges and organizations will only be notified of the author's name after their submission is chosen. Therefore, when the form asks you to submit your entry, please DO NOT include your name anywhere in the text. There is an additional area on the form for your name and bio.

As long as the Submission Form link is active, we are accepting responses. We will post when we reach 450 submissions, and count down from there. Results will be announced in January of 2021. All authors who submit will be notified of the results.

Please email for any questions.

A list of related resources including books and web links is available.