Welcome to Pandemic University

We’re a pop-up writing school for, and by, writers that sprung up in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. We work with professional storytellers in journalism, literature, podcasting, and screen arts to teach affordable creative writing courses and workshops online. We also partner with literary organizations to plan and execute virtual events on their behalf.
Over 4,000 writers from 60 countries have attended our classes since April 2020, when the school began as a financial relief effort for writers stiffed by the pandemic fallout. Though we’re a private company, many of our events benefit charities. The PanU community has collectively raised over $10,000 for such causes as the Canadian Writers’ Emergency Relief Fund, PEN, Media Girlfriends Scholarship, and the Kemosa Scholarship for Indigenous women writers. We’ve also facilitated more than $2,000 in PanU scholarships on behalf of Good Samaritan writers.

With Zoom, like everything else these days.

As for the classes themselves, check out our catalogue for upcoming events. We offer short webinars, half-day masterclasses, and multi-day courses at varying prices. Most webinars are $20 CAD, but some are free to register or sold by donation in support of a cultural charity; course and masterclass tuition varies but intentionally priced below other standard online writing courses.

Once you’re registered, you’ll receive a receipt that includes the Zoom and passcode information granting you access to the virtual classroom. All classes are live, but students can also revisit the recorded lecture posted within a couple of days on our Replay page, along with Class Notes directly from the author.

If you regret not registering for a class, you might find the Replay for sale in the Campus Shop. Instructors are not obliged to license past classes for sale or may only license them temporarily.

The school was started by freelance writer Omar Mouallem after losing substantial contracts due to travel restrictions, loss of childcare services, and self-isolation. He decided to create some work by rebooting seminars he’s given online, selling admission, and recruiting writers to do the same.

The fallout of COVID-19 devastated the writing industry in myriad ways, with self-employed writers bearing the brunt of it. Our initial goal was to help professionals pay a couple of bills during these uncertain, worrying, wacky times. But, also, we want writers to find inspiration in self-isolation. With so much time on our hands—and time itself melting into abstraction—it’s a good time to get creative.

We’re always programming new courses, workshops, and special events. Sign-up to be the first to find out who’s teaching what.

Heckin’ yes, you can!

Keep in mind that PanU was envisioned as a relief project for writers who’ve been stiffed by the COVID-19 fallout by hosting their one-off workshops during our seasonal “semesters.” We’ve since pivoted to offer multi-day courses and special events, launching on average one or two per month.

If you’d like to teach a webinar, workshop, or multi-day course, email us info@pandemicuniversity.com to learn how to pitch us.

We love partnering with cultural organizations to host literary and journalism-minded programs. In the past, we collaborated with the Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative on a nature-writing series and Alberta Magazine Publishers Association on a “Pitchfest” for writers and editors,  as well as the Edmonton Community Foundation, ProWritingAid, Media Girlfriends, and others.

Whether you have a fully baked idea in mind or just a concept, we’re open minded to any programming that serves creative writers and storytellers.

Webinar instructors are paid a flat fee for their time, plus bonuses based on registration numbers. Some donate their cheques, in full or in part, to charities such as the Canadian Writers’ Emergency Relief Fund or to artists who’ve lost work due to the circumstances. It’s really up to them. Pandemic University also covers any childcare costs incurred while teaching their classes. It does not, however, cover dog-walker bills. Thus, some classes are subject to barking.

Webinar instructors can also license the sale of their past classes in the Replay Store. We split earnings 50/50.

Course and masterclass instructors are paid a majority profit share negotiated based on various levels of services and support we provide. Typical profit shares are split 70/30 (courses) or 60/40 (masterclasses) for the writer and PanU, respectively.

They sure are! You can contact them directly by filling out this form. Pandemic U does not set their fees, manage their services, take a commission, or assume any responsibility for customer dissatisfaction. We urge you to get to know our instructors before booking.