Coronavirus: British Library to archive Radio 4’s Covid Chronicles for posterity

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Evan Davis has presented PM since November 2018

Essays submitted to BBC Radio 4’s PM programme detailing its listeners’ coronavirus experiences are to be archived by the British Library.

The Covid Chronicles were launched last month when presenter Evan Davis asked his audience to write in with personal accounts of life during lockdown.

Hundreds of people have since submitted accounts, some of which have been broadcast on the programme.

These and many more are to be included in the library’s born-digital archives.

“When we asked PM listeners to write up their own experiences of this extraordinary period in our history, I knew they wouldn’t let us down,” said Davis.

“We’ve been delighted at the response, and it’s just a pity that we play on air a fraction of the contributions people have submitted.

“It’s great to think that through the British Library, they have a home and may find themselves read in centuries to come.”

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The British Library is located in central London

Among the pieces aired on Radio 4’s afternoon news and current affairs programme is Sara Elias’s account of celebrating Passover with her family.

One listener reflected on her mother’s funeral, while another woman talked about preparing to give birth during the pandemic.

Derbyshire resident Toby Archer spoke about the “agonising” dilemma of whether he should go for a bike ride during lockdown.

Widowed garden designer Kate Wyre-Roberts, meanwhile, admitted she was rather enjoying taking a break from “the chaos of life”.

“We are really excited about these Covid Chronicles because they provide a snapshot in a time of national crisis,” said the British Library’s Polly Russell.

“They will be a wonderful record of this time and a brilliant resource for researchers in the future.”

To launch the partnership on Thursday, PM will broadcast a submission from a doctor caring for Covid-19 patients.

Essays of around 400 words in length can still be submitted to the programme via its email address.

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