‘100 Days of Decameron’ in Iowa City

Iowa City (United States of America) uses books and literary works to help its inhabitants find solace and diversion from the isolation and uncertainty due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As a UNESCO Creative City of Literature, the city, along with its influential literary institutions and other creative assets, has explored new ways of sharing literature and supporting writers under the current situation.

On 1 April, the city launched the initiative ‘100 Days of Decameron’, named after the famous book ‘The Decameron’, a collection of one hundred short stories written by Giovanni Boccaccio during the Black Plague of the 14th century. Taking place in a Tuscan villa, ‘The Decameron’ follows the story of 10 young people self-quarantined while the plague is ravaging Florence. The book narrates the adapted lifestyle and routine of these young souls that included walks, storytelling and singing to each other for 10 days to staved off boredom.

Inspired by this literary piece, more fitting and relatable than ever, the city is inviting its inhabitants to gather virtually to read this classic and participate in an online discussion. The idea is to create a strong sense of community and belonging by reading one tale a day and finishing the entire book in 100 days.

Anna Barker, an assistant adjunct professor at the University of Iowa leads the project. Participants are welcome to join the project and discussions on social media at any time. To join in, follow the link below.

For more information on the initiative, please visit: