London artist’s compelling Corona diary compared to the work of Samuel Pepys goes global

Corona Diary | Hillingdon Today
Corona Diary / Vic Lee

A stunningly sketched graphic diary of the UK’s pandemic experience has gone global after taking social media by storm and providing 25,000 meals for people in need.

Vic Lee’s Corona Diary raised £5,000 for the food charity FareShare when it was self-published in the first months of the pandemic last year.

Among hundreds of stories in the unique book, which chronicles a whole 12 months in black and white, Vic mentions Marcus Rashford’s work with FareShare and was inspired to donate himself.

Now, a year on, a second book has gone global thanks to it being picked up by a publisher and a new Artist Edition has also been added.

Vic’s first Artist Edition, which covered the six months from January 2020 to June 2020, was self-funded and self-published. It sold all 2,500 copies within just eight weeks to buyers around the world thanks to word of mouth and social media buzz.

He said: “The original post of the first few pages I shared on LinkedIn especially, sort of blew up – it was viewed 250,000 times, with over 12,000 likes and thousands of comments telling me to publish it as a book.”

“The Corona Diary is an important book to a lot of people. It records a lot of what happened and also personal experiences and thoughts.

“I didn’t realise when I made the first book just how important it was. The people buying it, from hairdressers to designers, builders, mums and dads and students, came from all walks of life. The comments they posted on their platforms made me realise that this was more than just another book that will be bought and left on a shelf. It’s something to cherish, keep and look back on in one, two, or five years’ time.”

The 88-page hand-crafted book, packed with evocative images from the first six months of the pandemic, headed worldwide.

From Sir Captain Tom Moore’s legacy, to lockdown hair, Eat Out To Help Out, UK government decisions and Trump, and moments that have quickly been forgotten, Vic’s books have been likened to those of Samuel Pepys, as a modern-day chronicler of a year like no other.

The book has also gone on to win a flurry of awards and been lauded as extra special and rare to cover a complete year in our lifetime.

Reviews of the Corona Diary have drawn parallels with Pepys’ iconic 17th century works detailing the plague and great fire of London.

Vic said: “It records what has affected everyone. This is not a personal story as such, but an overall, this is what happened to all of us and what we went through together globally.

“It is a book for everyone. It will not be forgotten, I’ve received messages that tell me the book has helped people have a better understanding of what happened, as they blanked out much of the year they missed, and to look back on and smile, laugh and cry.

“The diary isn’t just a book to buy, but a book to own and keep for generations to come. I have had new parents buy these books for their children born in 2020, to keep and have as a memento. For their children that experienced 2020 to look back on.

“There are parts about the NHS, of doctors and nurses in every country going above and beyond. This was very emotional to illustrate and write about.”

The book is available through

The first edition, is available globally in most book stores and online.