Socially Distanced Editing

Ross and Fiedler in editorial mode

It is a truism of the corona period that one result of the narrowing down of life has been a fresh appreciation of the joy of simple pleasures – birdsong, flowers or a walk in the park. In my case, restricted range has increased my appreciation of my twice-weekly editorial sessions on the veranda with my comrade-in-arms Klaus Fiedler. These are conducted with strict observance of social distance but the editing proceeds unhindered.

We are thankful that, after a spike in the early part of this year, the spread of the virus currently seems to have slowed in Malawi. Official numbers of new positive cases have declined steeply and we no longer hear locally the reports of deaths that were coming almost daily a month ago. Still, we proceed with caution.

The current editing project on the veranda is a knock-on from the Malawi Church History book that we wrote together during the long semi-lockdown last year. At the end of each chapter we provide a list of further reading but we are aware that quite a number of the relevant articles appear in books that are long out of print or in journals that are very difficult to access from Malawi. This seems like a recipe for frustration on the part of enthusiastic students.

Our project is therefore to gather as many of these articles as we can to compile a “Reader” on Malawi’s church history. It sounds simple but securing the texts, getting permission to republish and providing them with a critical introduction is proving to be quite an exacting task. Nonetheless we are confident that it will yield a worthwhile result – so Tuesdays and Fridays continue to witness socially distanced editing on the veranda.

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