We asked some of our authors what they've been up to during lockdown these last few months. Here, Anthony David, author of Into the Abyss, answers our questions about the books, film, TV and hobbies that have kept him busy. 

 

 

1. Where have you spent lockdown?

South London. I have been able to carry out my work as an NHS psychiatrist ‘behind the lines’ using video conferencing methods for consultations. I’ve been surprised at how well this can work.

 

2. Books. What books have you been reading? Has lockdown affected your choices? Fiction or non-fiction? Or have you gone back to your comfort reads? 

Albert Camus: The Plague. Yes, I know it’s obvious. But now, as in the book, the pandemic can be seen as both a metaphor and the thing itself. 

 

3. TV - Has there been anything on TV that you have particularly enjoyed? This could be an individual programme, a box set or something you’ve been rewatching?

After Life, Ricky Gervais’ Netflix series. Scabrous yet deeply affecting. What are our reasons for living?

 

4. It would seem on the surface that lockdown is good for writers. There’s no excuse not to write when you’re stuck indoors! Was it like that for you?

As a clinical academic I threw myself into trying to understand this and previous pandemics, especially from the point of view of mental health. Cue obsessive reading and research which might have been ‘displacement activity’ but nevertheless, with the help of colleagues, led to a number of academic papers and newspaper articles.

I discovered one gem from the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918. The public health message at the time was:

 

“Obey the laws

And wear the gauze

Protect your jaws

From Septic Paws”.

 

Better than ‘Stay Alert’ at least.

 

Into the Abyss is out now. Find out more here