EDMONTON -- While schools are closed down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, one is actually about to open up next week.

Pandemic University is hosting 14 virtual classes taught by award-winning authors from around the world. The virtual school was started by Edmonton writer Omar Mouallem who saw his and other author’s work disappear in the last few weeks.

"Other writers who I talked to have new books out and they’re not able to launch, not being able to tour, not being able to promote because no one wants to talk about them right now," said Mouallem.

Mouallem decided to draw on his experience of giving writing workshops to keep busy and contacted other authors to see if they wanted to join in. He ended up getting 14 people on board, including an Emmy nominated TV writer, a Gourmand World Cookbook winning author, two Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize finalists and writers for the New Yorker, and more.

"There are more awards and accolades than I could ever name from this roster," says Mouallem.

Mouallem says not only do the authors get a chance to work during the pandemic, but the classes also give people a chance to isolate some new skills during their quarantine.

"I know right now if you can be creative, it’s the best thing that you can do with your time. I mean there’s only so many sourdough bread recipes out there," laughed Mouallem.

Pandemic University actually offers classes on how to write cookbooks. The 90-minute to two-hour sessions also cover true crime, business development and penning prose during a time of crisis.

"We do have a class on disaster poetry. Poetry in the time of COVID-19 yes we do!" said Mouallem.

Pandemic University costs $15 USD for each session or $99 USD to take every one of the 14 courses which start April 20.