An Introduction to Letters of Solidarity From Eve Makis

Eve Makis is a writer and lecturer at Nottingham Trent University. She has published four novels and one non-fiction writing guide, 'The Accidental Memoir'. Here, Eve welcomes you to our new project, Letters of Solidarity.

Inside my grandmother’s old trunk, beneath photo albums and an old rug, there’s a locked wooden box. Inside the box there’s a stack of handwritten letters, from school friends and an old love. When I’m feeling nostalgic (and there’s no one at home) I read those letters and remember who I was and the things I experienced, the way I felt when I was younger. Letters are a powerful way of conveying our thoughts and feelings, a lasting legacy of our lives.

I’ve lived through riots and referendums and environmental disasters but no-one in our lifetime has experienced anything like coronavirus. As one country after another has put safety measures in place, we have all experienced the same seismic shift in our lives, the same surreal events. The closure of schools and businesses for months on end, strict confinement to our homes, social distancing, the wearing of masks in public, not being able to touch. 

Covid-19 isn’t a disaster witnessed on the news, at a distance, but lived at close quarters. We are (all of us) the news. We all know how it feels to be cut off from the people we love, to have our lives disrupted and face uncertainty about the future. Many of us have shown our support of NHS staff, stuck rainbows on our windows, been forced to communicate with our relatives and friends through panes of glass. Keep safe has become a standard farewell. There’s never been a time of greater unity, greater empathy, greater solidarity. 

You’ve had lots of time to think, trying to make sense of what’s happening. We’d like to hear those thoughts, expressed in the form of letters. Handwritten or typed, we don’t mind. Every letter you write will be read with care and attention and love. We’d like to publish some of them on our website and in the form of an anthology, so they can be kept forever. We want to hear how you’ve coped, what you’ve learned about yourself and others, what you feel passionate about. It might not relate to Covid-19 at all but a social issue that’s been preying on your mind, making your blood run cold.  We don’t want to dictate what you write or how you write it. The following prompts are just a guide. You can use or ignore them. You might have come across letter writing tips before. Be concise. Use proper grammar and punctuation. Be formal and polite. Well, forget all that. These are creative letters and anything goes. Use the angriest, funniest, strongest, silliest, most powerful words to express yourself, without fear of offending. Write as you speak. Write from the heart. Add your name at the end or sign off ‘Anonymous’ and feel free to add sketches. Write a letter you can one day look back on, as I look back on mine, to see what you went through aged ?, how you felt. A window on your younger self and the bizarre, unprecedented events of 2020.

Eve Makis,
June 2020.

Ready to write your own letter? Find our writing resources here.