The Write Group has a brick outside the Montclair Public Library. GWEN OREL/FILE PHOTO

Four members of the Montclair Write Group contributed to “Corona City: Voices from an Epicenter,” an anthology of COVID-19 stories and photographs. The collaborative project won two categories in the international 2021 Next Generation Indie Book Awards — Best Anthology and Best COVID-19 Pandemic Book.

The members are: Madelyn Hoffman, a Morris County resident who ran for U.S. Senate in 2020; William J. Burrows, a retired man in Bergen County who food-shopped for two households; Ellen Bedrosian, a photographer from Bergen County; and Marcia Mickley, an Essex County resident who dealt with childhood trauma that resurfaced during lockdown.

The judges called “Corona City” a “surreally beautiful anthology.” In it, first-person writings and photographs chronicle life in New York and New Jersey at the height of the COVID-19 outbreak from March through June 2020.

According to an announcement of the award, editor Lorraine Ash and Sherry Wachter of Magic Dog Press initiated the project to create a grassroots history of an unprecedented time and to address a societal issue that worsened due to the economic hardship that many faced during the pandemic. Contributors also volunteered their time and talent.




All proceeds and prizes go directly to a nationwide network of food banks. The e-book, released earlier this month, provides 70 meals for every copy sold; each paperback provides 13 meals. Both can be purchased here.

To date, the project has made 7,226 meals possible, according to the announcement on Tuesday, June  22. The anthology’s creators ask for help reaching their goal of donating 25,000 meals by Thanksgiving 2021.

The Next Generation Indie Book Awards ceremony, scheduled for Friday June 25 at 7 p.m., will be livestreamed here.