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
Coronet

Freddie Mercury

Lesley-Ann Jones
Authors:
Lesley-Ann Jones

Alan Titchmarsh

Alan Titchmarsh is known to millions through the popular BBC TV programmes British Isles: A Natural History, How to be a Gardener, Ground Force and Gardeners' World. But he started out in far humbler beginnings, in a rural childhood on the edge of Ilkley Moor in Yorkshire.After a spell at Kew he became a horticultural journalist, as an Editor of gardening magazines, before becoming a freelance broadcaster and writer.He has twice been named 'Gardening Writer of the Year' and for four successive years was voted 'Television Personality of the Year' by the Garden Writers' Guild. In 2004 he received their Lifetime Achievement Award.Alan has appeared on radio and television both as a gardening expert and as an interviewer and presenter, fronting such programmes as Points of View, Pebble Mill, Songs of Praise, Titchmarsh's Travels and Ask the Family, and since 1983 has presented the BBC's annual coverage of The Chelsea Flower Show. He now has his own daytime TV show on ITV, The Alan Titchmarsh Show. Alan has written more than forty gardening books, as well as seven best-selling novels, including his 2008 success, Folly, which have all made the Sunday Times Bestsellers List. Alan has published three volumes of memoirs; Trowel and Error sold over 200,000 copies in hardback when published in 2002, and Nobbut A Lad, about his Yorkshire childhood, was published in October 2006 with similar success, and his third volume of memoir Knave of Spadeswas a Sunday Times bestseller.He was made MBE in the millennium New Year Honours list and holds the Victoria Medal of Honour, the Royal Horticultural Society's highest award. He lives with his wife and a menagerie of animals in Hampshire where he gardens organically.

Bernie Nolan

Bernie Nolan was the lead singer in the band The Nolans alongside her sisters. She has appeared in Brookside and The Bill, and was also a contestant on From Pop Star to Opera Star. She lives in Surrey with her husband and daughter.

Bevis Hillier

Bevis Hillier devoted more than twenty-five years to writing Betjeman`s life, a task entrusted to him by the poet himself. Like Betjeman he was educated at Magdalen College, Oxford. Later he joined The Times, became editor of The Connoisseur and a columnist on the Los Angeles Times, as well as writing for many other papers and journals. He edited Betjeman`s 'Uncollected Poems' now included in COLLECTED POEMS, compiled JOHN BETJEMAN: A LIFE IN PICTURES and is the author of YOUNG BETJEMAN, NEW FAME, NEW LIFE and THE BONUS OF LAUGHTER. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the Royal Society of Literature. He lives in Hampshire.

Brian Beacom

Brian Beacom is an award-winning entertainment writer at the Herald and Times group of newspapers based in Glasgow. He has written four books and two plays.

Carol Mcgiffin

Carol McGiffin was born in London in 1960, and grew up in Kent with her two sisters Kim and Tracy and her brother Mark. A radio and television broadcaster, Carol is probably best known as the most outspoken member of the hit ITV talk show, Loose Women. Carol has been on the show for nearly a decade and recently joined the other girls to collect a National Television Award - beating stiff competition from Top Gear and The Apprentice. Carol began her broadcasting career as a co-host with Chris Evans on GLR, and went on to marry him in 1991, though they separated two years later. She also worked alongside Paul Ross on the award-winning breakfast show on Talk Radio, before working at LBC and Loose Women. She lives with her fiancé Mark in London.

Cesar Millan

Founder of the Dog Psychology Center in Los Angeles, CESAR MILLAN is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Cesar's Way, Be the Pack Leader, Member of the Family. How to Raise the Perfect Dog and Cesar's Rules. He is the star of The Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan, the Nat Geo Wild Channel's top-rated show. In addition to his educational seminars and work with unstable dogs, Cesar co-founded the Cesar and Ilusion Millan Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to helping shelters and rescue groups. 'Cesar you're a marvel, an absolute marvel' - Paul O'Grady, The Paul O'Grady Show.'[Cesar] arrives amid canine chaos and leaves behind peace.' - Malcolm Gladwell, The New Yorker.

Daniel Tammet

Daniel Tammet is an essayist, novelist and translator. He is the author of Thinking in Numbers, Embracing the Wide Sky, and the Sunday Times bestseller Born On A Blue Day. Tammet is Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA). He lives in Paris.

Denis Avey

Denis Avey was born in Essex in 1919. He fought in the desert during the Second World War and was captured and held as a Prisoner of War in a camp near Auschwitz III. In 2010 he received a British Hero of the Holocaust award. Denis lives in Derbyshire.

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.

Harry Thompson

Harry Thompson invented many TV comedy hits such as Have I Got News For You and Da Ali G Show. He was the author of several acclaimed bestsellers, including PETER COOK: A BIOGRAPHY and PENGUINS STOPPED PLAY, as well as a historical novel, THIS THING OF DARKNESS which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He worked as a producer at Talkback TV and in his spare time he ran the infamous cricket team, the Captain Scott XI. Harry Thompson died in 2005.

Helen Brown

Helen Brown is a New Zealander living in Melbourne. She wrote Cleo to tell the story of the family cat chosen by her son who was tragically killed shortly after in a road accident. Cleo lived to be 24 and was an honoured family member. Cleo was sold in numerous international territories, becoming a bestseller in the UK, US, France, Australia and New Zealand. It provoked an enormous response from readers desperate to know what happened next. Helen's follow-up book titled After Cleo is available in paperback and ebook. The film based on Cleo is currently in pre-production. Website: www.helenbrown.com.au

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 Frey

James Frey is originally from Ohio. His books A Million Little Pieces, My Friend Leonard, Bright Shiny Morning and The Final Testament of the Holy Bible have all been bestsellers around the world. He is married and lives in New York.

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.

Kenny Dalglish

Kenny Dalglish was one of the most successful footballers of his era, winning successive tournaments with Liverpool, and then turning to management he triumphed with Liverpool and Blackburn. Since then he has managed Newcastle in a difficult spell and recently taken over the Direction of football in Glasgow Celtic. His autobiography was one of the biggest selling books of its year.

Kym Marsh

Born in Lancashire in 1976, Kym Marsh found fame with the band Hear'Say and has been on our screens in the much-loved soap Coronation Street for over four years. She has two children from a previous relationship, David and Emily. She divorced husband Jack Ryder in 2008 and has since found love with Hollyoaks actor Jamie Lomas. They had a child together, Polly Lomas, in April 2011.

Margaret MacMillan

Margaret MacMillan has a doctorate from St Antony's College, Oxford. Formerly Provost of Trinity College and Professor of History, University of Toronto, she is now Warden of St Antony's College, Oxford. She has written several books including PEACEMAKERS which won the BBC Four Samuel Johnson Prize, the Duff Cooper Prize and the Hessell-Tiltman Prize.