Writers’ desks in the time of confinement

At the Pontas Agency, we have just completed our second week of confinement, of re-adjusting our ways to working from home, our daily meetings through the screen, our calls, videocalls, WhatsApps and endless emails with everybody. It’s a strange feeling, but we’re busier than ever and the days seem longer too. We’re all in good health and we thank you for all the messages. The truth is that we finally know some of the people who have died, or are in hospital or at home with the Covid-19 symptoms… And it’s scary, yes. And we do take care.

Like everybody else, we’ve been focused on the news. But we’ve also been busy thinking about our responsibility in the face of this crisis as a literary agency and part of the delicate publishing ecosystem. Therefore, our main concern since the beginning of the confinement has been to stay in touch with all the authors we represent across the world and make sure they’re ok, healthy, and in good spirits. Some are finishing their novels, some are just starting a new one, others are adapting the promotion plans of their recently published books to online activities, and some are seeing their books postponed…

In the very recent photos above: the desks of Martí Gironell (near Girona, Northern Catalonia); of Melba Escobar (not far from Bogotá, in Colombia); Janice Pariat in New Delhi (India), dressed up for picture while in quarantine after her complicated return from Italy, where she was doing some research; the view of the Andes from the roof of Alberto Fuguet’s apartment in Santiago de Chile; and Eka Kurniawan sharing his desk (and homeschooling) with his daughter in Jakarta (Indonesia).

Above left, Daniela Tully’s new “writing cave” in Dubai: she decided that looking out the window without being able to leave was too much and she recalled that William Goldman wrote Marathon Man in a windowless room in New York. And, as she said, “desks are becoming a bubble in which a new story can be born into its own world, with a set of its own rules”. Above right, the spot where Lucía Baskaran has started her new novel in Donostia/San Sebastián (Basque Country).

Meanwhile, debut author Priya Hein is polishing her novel set in Mauritius, the island where she is from, with the help of her pre-teenagers in Munich (Germany). A little family humour is always welcome!

Let’s keep calm, keep well, and keep ourselves immersed in books!

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