Related to: 'Hero'

Julie Sarkissian blogs about the problems facing the protagnist of her debut novel, DEAR LUCY

Something's Wrong With Lucy - But What?

Lucy is different – that much is clear. She speaks like a child, doesn’t recognize social boundaries, flies into rages, and treasures rotten food. Her cognition is impaired, her vocabulary is very limited and she cannot read or write. But what – precisely – is wrong with her is left up to the reader. Lucy is the protagonist of my novel, DEAR LUCY, and from the first sentence of the book I ever wrote it was obvious that Lucy was cognitively different. The way Lucy describes herself is as “missing too many words.” Her mother calls her “difficult.” Readers of early drafts of the book had a few theories as to Lucy’s condition; autism, Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome. But Lucy’s mother has kept her from going to school and Lucy has never seen a doctor. So in the fictional reality of the book there is no official diagnosis. But as the novel progressed I wondered – should I have one? I was torn. If Lucy was presenting enough symptoms to point to a real condition, was I ignoring the obvious not to fold that condition into my development of her character? Was it insensitive of me to allude to aspects of certain real, life-altering conditions but not assign a specific condition to Lucy? I worried about appropriating aspects of serious conditions without treating those conditions with proper respect and acknowledgement. And though any clinical diagnosis would probably not be explicit in the novel, I wondered if I would be ignoring an opportunity to bring attention to a real disorder when people asked me about Lucy’s condition, the way The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time did for autism. On the other hand, I had concerns that if I chose a diagnosis for Lucy, I would be ascribing to her qualities that she wouldn’t have otherwise presented. Lucy had her own will over my writing and over the novel. I didn’t want to yoke Lucy’s expression by keeping her behavior and abilities consistent with a clinical condition. Accuracy would also become a critical issue if Lucy’s condition was named. Ultimately I chose not to diagnose Lucy, though I worry the artistic freedom provided by that decision comes at the price of being judged for being too liberal with my treatment of cognitive disorders. Now that publication is a few months away, I am apprehensive of how my treatment of Lucy’s cognitive limitations will be judged. I have yet to talk to a reader who has a learning different child, or works with learning different people, and that conversation is one I will be honored, and not a bit anxious, to have.

Hodder & Stoughton

Ride a White Swan

Lesley-Ann Jones
Authors:
Lesley-Ann Jones

From mod folk artist to flower power pixie elfin to the king of glam rockers, Marc Bolan was the ultimate chameleon. His far reaching musical and stylistic influence is more relevant today than ever with hits such as 'Ride A White Swan', 'Children Of The Revolution', 'Get It On' and 'Hot Love' as fresh and exhilarating as when first released. At the peak of his popularity during his lifetime Bolan was outselling Jimi Hendrix and The Who, and yet relatively little is really known about the hypnotic, enigmatic 20th century boy turned 21st century icon. At last, in the 35th anniversary year of his tragic death, Marc Bolan represents the definite biography. Here rock biographer, Lesley-Ann Jones, paints a meticulous portrait of the T-Rex front man. From his childhood growing up in Hackney to his untimely death at the age of 29, Bolan's life was one of relentless experimentation and metamorphoses. Hallucinogenic drugs, wizardry and levitation, alcoholism, tax evasion and a spectacular fall from grace were to punctuate his short life, as he continued to strive to reinvent himself and his music over and over again. Lesley-Ann has been granted access to those who knew Bolan best, including his partner and the mother of his only son, Gloria Jones and his brother, Harry Feld.

Hodder Paperbacks

Freddie Mercury: The Definitive Biography

Lesley-Ann Jones
Authors:
Lesley-Ann Jones

'Exactly the sort of tribute Mercury himself would have wanted' SPECTATORThis is the definitive biography of Freddie Mercury. Written by an award-winning rock journalist, Lesley-Ann Jones toured widely with Queen forming lasting friendships with the band. Now, having secured access to the remaining band members and those who were closest to Freddie, from childhood to death, Lesley-Ann has written the most in depth account of one of music's best loved and most complex figures. Meticulously researched, sympathetic, unsensational, the book - like the forthcoming film - will focus on the period in the 1980s when Queen began to fragment, before their Live Aid performance put them back in the frame. In her journey to understand the man behind the legend, Lesley-Ann Jones has travelled from London to Zanzibar to India. Packed with exclusive interviews and told with the invaluable perspective that the twenty years since Mercury's death presents, Freddie Mercury is the most up to date portrait of a legendary man.

Coronet

Freddie Mercury

Lesley-Ann Jones
Authors:
Lesley-Ann Jones

Bob Fischer

Bob Fischer is a lifelong science fiction and fantasy fan who has previously enjoyed careers as a record shop owner, a solo singer-songwriter and a short-lived Elvis impersonator (one gig). He now works as a radio presenter for BBC Tees, a job that has seen him spill tea over Jack Charlton's antique fireplace and sing on a UK Top 10 hit single ('Bunsen Burner' by John Otway, No 9 in October 2002). Bob has also won a prestigious Sony Radio Award . . . just a bronze though, so don't get too excited. Bob has dabbled with writing before, but Wiffle Lever To Full! is the first major project he's ever actually finished. Or, indeed, started. He lives near Middlesbrough with a tall girlfriend who thinks old-school Doctor Who is 'rubbish', and a medium-sized dog that doesn't mind the Jon Pertwee era, but if pressed would admit to preferring Blake's 7.

Don Stephens

Don Stephens is the founder and president of the international charity Mercy Ships. The charity currently operates three hospital vessels: the Anastasis, the Caribbean Mercy and the Island Mercy. These astonishing ships take relief and development to the port cities of some of the world's poorest countries. Every year, Mercy Ships' doctors perform more than a thousand complex operations that transform people's lives - including complicated maxilofacial surgery - in areas where up to half the population has no access to basic health care.

Fern Riddell

Dr Fern Riddell is a historian specialising in sex, suffrage and culture in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. She appears regularly on TV and radio, and writes for the Guardian, Huffington Post, Telegraph and Times Higher Education among others, and is a columnist for BBC History Magazine.

Graham Norton

Graham Norton is one of the UK's best loved broadcasters. He presents The Graham Norton Show on BBC1, has a weekly show on BBC Radio 2, and writes a column for the Telegraph. He is the winner of eight BAFTA awards. Born in Dublin and raised in West Cork, Norton now lives in London. His debut novel Holding was a commercial and critical success, winning Norton the Irish Independent Popular Fiction award at the Bord Gáis Irish Book Awards in 2016.

Henry Hemming

Henry Hemming lives in London, UK.

James Bowen

James Bowen is the author of the bestselling A STREET CAT NAMED BOB and THE WORLD ACCORDING TO BOB. He found Bob the cat in 2007 and the pair have been inseparable ever since. They both live in north London.

James Lovell

James Lovell is much in demand for his skill in turning film scripts into novels. He is based in the US.

Jasvinder Sanghera

Jasvinder Sanghera CBE was born and brought up in Derby. A survivor of a forced marriage, she is the co-founder of Karma Nirvana, a national project that supports both men and women affected by honour-based crimes and forced marriages. Jasvinder is also an international speaker and a Leading Expert Advisor to the Courts in child and criminal proceedings. Her memoir SHAME was a Sunday Times Top 10 Bestseller. Jasvinder has brought the issue of forced marriage into the public eye and helped the Forced Marriage bill go through Parliament. She has won numerous awards for her work including a Metropolitan Police GG2 Diversity Award in 2005. In 2007 she received one of the prestigious Women of the Year awards. Jasvinder was made an Honorary Doctor of the University of Derby in 2008. She was awarded a Pride of Britain Award in 2009 and was named a Cosmopolitan Ultimate Woman of the Year in 2010. In 2011 the Guardian listed Jasvinder amongst the top 100 inspirational women in the world.

Jeffrey Kluger

Jeffrey Kluger is a senior writer at Time magazine. He is co-author of the best-selling Apollo 13, which served as the basis of the film. His other books include Moonhunters and Splendid Solution.

John Powell

Dr John Powell is a physicist and a classically trained musician, with naturally curly hair. He has given lectures at international laser conferences and played guitar in pubs in return for free beer. He prefers the latter activity. He holds a master's degree in music composition and a PhD in physics, and has taught physics at the universities of Nottingham and Lulea (Sweden) and musical acoustics at Sheffield University. He lives in Nottingham.

Max Pemberton

Max Pemberton is a practicing doctor. As well as a degree in Medicine, he completed a degree in Anthropology for which he was awarded a first and a prize for academic excellence. Max has worked in a broad range of medicine, from geriatrics, adult psychiatry, surgery and paediatric palliative care. He is also a columnist for the Daily Telegraph and Reader's Digest. In 2010, he was named Public Educator of the Year 2010 by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

Melanie McGrath

Melanie McGrath was born in Essex, and is the author of critically acclaimed, bestselling non-fiction (Silvertown and The Long Exile) and won the John Llewelyn-Rhys/Mail on Sunday award for Best New British and Commonwealth Writer under 35, for her first book Motel Nirvana. She writes for the national press and is a regular broadcaster on radio. She writes fiction as M.J. McGrath, and her first novel in the Edie Kiglatuk series: White Heat was longlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger Award and was followed by The Boy in the Snow. The Bone Seeker is the third book in the series. Melanie lives and works in London.

Pamela Young

Pamela Young is a retired social worker. She grew up in north-west England and still lives there with her husband Simon. Pamela has three granddaughters and spends a lot of time with her family. In her spare time she enjoys visiting sacred places and going on spiritual pilgrimages. She also likes walking, reading and meditating. Hope Street is her first book.

Peter Alliss

Peter Alliss was born in 1931, the son of Percy Alliss, one of Britain's leading professional golfers in the 1920s and 30s. Peter himself turned professional in 1947, at the age of sixteen. During his pro career Peter won three British PGA championships, played in eight Ryder Cup teams, and ten teams representing England in the World Cup. He won 23 major tournaments in all.Peter Alliss is now universally known and loved for his golfing commentaries throughout the world, for the BBC in the UK and ABC in the US. For millions of people around the world, Peter Alliss is 'the Voice of Golf'. He was voted by Golf Digest as 'The Best Golf Commentator ... Ever.'

Robert Douglas

Robert Douglas retired, aged fifty-five, in 1994. He intended to paint, write short stories and lie about the house watching old films. A one-off article he wrote about six weeks spent with a condemned man in Bristol prison led to him being told 'You should write.'His first book - the bestselling NIGHT SONG OF THE LAST TRAM - is centred around his Glasgow childhood and became the first book in the popular trilogy detailing his life as a miner, dock worker, doss-house resident, soldier, prison screw - and survivor.He hasn't painted for years.

Rupert Shortt

Rupert Shortt is religion editor of The Times Literary Supplement and a former Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford. He writes for The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph and the London Evening Standard. His books include Benedict XVI (2005), Christianophobia: A Faith Under Attack (2012), Rowan's Rule: The Biography of the Archbishop (2014) and God Is No Thing: Coherent Christianity (2016).

Simon Hoggart

Born in 1946, Simon Hoggart is the eldest child of the writer and academic Richard Hoggart. After Cambridge he worked for the Guardian in Northern Ireland, Africa, and Westminster. He joined the Observer in 1991 as US correspondent, based in Washington, then returned to the UK to rejoin the political world. From 1996 to 2006 he chaired the News Quiz on Radio 4, and in 2001 became wine correspondent at the Spectator.