Local author a winner of Decameron Project

Author Janice Coy
Author Janice Coy

Nearly 700 years ago after the Black Death hit Florence, Italy in 1348, Giovanni Boccacio wrote The Decameron, a fictional book about 10 young people who retreated into quarantine and passed the time telling stories resulting in 100 stories. This past fall, members of the San Diego community were invited to submit previously unpublished fiction or nonfiction narratives of 1,000 words or less based loosely around the theme of the current pandemic.

A story submitted by local author Janice Coy was one of the 100 winners of the San Diego Decameron Project sponsored by Write Out Loud, San Diego Public Library, La Jolla Historical Society and San Diego Writers Ink. The winning stories, chosen by 25 judges, will be posted on the partner websites beginning Feb. 16 at 7 p.m. At that time, the top 10 most compelling stories will be chosen and read by Write Out Loud actors during a virtual presentation. Free tickets to the presentation can be found at https://writeoutloud.ticketspice.com/san-diego-decameron-project-celebration.

Coy’s story Not for Sale was inspired by the record run-up in area home prices during the pandemic. In her humorous fictional tale, an older homeowner misses the usual neighborhood Halloween festivities and fends off an overly eager realtor.

Coy and her husband, Bruce, have lived in Carmel Valley for more than 30 years, raising their three daughters in the community. Like many others, the couple have spent the current pandemic at home.

San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria shared, “The Decameron Project is an important archive to capture our city’s stories during the pandemic. As a history major myself, I deeply appreciate that these pieces feature events both big and small as a permanent record of San Diegans’ tragic and uplifting moments during this unprecedented time.”

Coy has also used the forced time indoors to finish writing her sixth novel about a woman whose life is upended by an unexpected discovery that challenges her long-held fears of bears, old age, and irrelevance. Robin’s Folly is available for purchase on Amazon as an e-book or paperback. Her five other novels can also be found on Amazon or her website, www.janicecoy.com. Coy is a finalist at the San Diego Book Awards Association and an IndieReader approved author. Her work appears in five anthologies.

“As an English major in college, I dreamed of writing the Great American Novel,” Coy said, “but it turns out I’ve written six fun novels that readers tell me they have a hard time putting down. I think we can all use an imaginary escape at times and perhaps especially now.”

Last fall, Coy was invited to participate in a San Diego Central Library crowd-sourced poem that was presented virtually as part of the Women’s Centennial Celebration. Her fifth novel, The Water’s Fine, was featured along with others at the central library’s 2020 local author showcase.

All the stories submitted to the San Diego Decameron Project, including those that did not make it into the top 100, will be archived in the digital collections of both the San Diego Public Library and the La Jolla Historical Society for posterity, becoming a permanent part of the collective memory of this period of San Diego history.