Related to: 'Archaeology: All That Matters'

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

The Romans: All That Matters

John Manley
Authors:
John Manley

In The Romans: All That Matters, John Manley focuses on some of the fundamental aspects of the Roman Empire, especially those topics that have relevance beyond the study of Antiquity itself - how its material remains and philosophical concepts have survived and still influence us today. How did a rather obscure settlement spread over a few hills on the banks of the Tiber come to dominate the lives of 65 million people? What drove this relentless desire to conquer? How did Rome manage to maintain direct rule over such a vast area - from present-day Scotland to Syria - approximately 6 million square kilometres? The answer, in part, is that there were many different kinds of Roman culture, as each separate provincial elite, each region and each group of indigenous community leaders, chose slightly different elements of the Roman colonial 'package' to establish their particular identity.This accessible and readable book will appeal both to students and general readers, giving a fascinating introduction to the Romans - and what mattered most about them.

Hodder & Stoughton

The Romans: All That Matters

John Manley
Authors:
John Manley

In The Romans: All That Matters, John Manley focuses on some of the fundamental aspects of the Roman Empire, especially those topics that have relevance beyond the study of Antiquity itself - how its material remains and philosophical concepts have survived and still influence us today. How did a rather obscure settlement spread over a few hills on the banks of the Tiber come to dominate the lives of 65 million people? What drove this relentless desire to conquer? How did Rome manage to maintain direct rule over such a vast area - from present-day Scotland to Syria - approximately 6 million square kilometres? The answer, in part, is that there were many different kinds of Roman culture, as each separate provincial elite, each region and each group of indigenous community leaders, chose slightly different elements of the Roman colonial 'package' to establish their particular identity. This accessible and readable book will appeal both to students and general readers, giving a fascinating introduction to the Romans - and what mattered most about them.

Akala

Akala is a BAFTA and MOBO award-winning hip-hop artist, writer and social entrepreneur, as well as the co-founder of The Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company. With an extensive global touring history, Akala has appeared at numerous festivals both in the UK and internationally, and has led innovative projects in the arts, education and music across South East Asia, Africa, India, Australia and New Zealand. Akala has also appeared on Channel 4, ITV, MTV, Sky Arts and the BBC promoting his music and poetry, and speaking on wide-ranging subjects from music, race, youth engagement, British/African-Caribbean culture and the arts, with numerous online lectures and performances that have millions of views on YouTube. More recently known for his compelling lectures and journalism - he has been awarded an honorary degree from Oxford Brookes University and the University of Brighton, written for the Guardian, Huffington Post and the Independent, and spoken for the Oxford Union and TEDx - Akala has gained a reputation as one of the most dynamic and articulate talents in the UK.

Andrew Lownie

Andrew Lownie first became interested in the Cambridge Spy Ring when, as President of the Cambridge Union Society in 1984, he arranged an international seminar on the subject. After graduating from Cambridge University, where he won the Dunster Prize for History, Lownie went on to take a postgraduate degree in history at Edinburgh University. He is now a successful literary agent, and has written or edited seven books, including a biography of John Buchan.

Andrew Williams

Andrew Williams worked as a senior producer for the BBC's flagship Panorama and Newsnight programmes, and as a writer and director of history documentaries. He is the author of two bestselling non-fiction books, The Battle of the Atlantic and D-day to Berlin, and four acclaimed novels, The Interrogator, (shortlisted for the Ian Fleming Silver Dagger Award and the Ellis Peters Award), To Kill a Tsar, (shortlisted for the Ellis Peters Award and the Walter Scott Prize), The Poison Tide and The Suicide Club. You can find out more about Andrew Williams and his writing at www.andrewwilliams.tv, and you can follow him on twitter at @AWilliamswriter or on Facebook.

Anthony Riches

Anthony Riches began his lifelong interest in war and soldiers when he first heard his father's stories about World War II. This led to a degree in Military Studies at Manchester University. He began writing the story that would become Wounds of Honour after a visit to Housesteads in 1996. He lives in Hertfordshire with his wife and three children.www.anthonyriches.comwww.twitter.com/AnthonyRiches

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson was appointed Foreign Secretary in July 2016. He was elected MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip in 2015. Before this he was the Editor of the Spectator, Member of Parliament for Henley on Thames, Shadow Minister for the Arts and Shadow Minister for Higher Education. He is the author of many books, most recently the international bestseller The Churchill Factor. Other titles include Johnson's Life of London (re-issued as The Spirit of London), Have I Got Views for You and Dream of Rome.

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.

Giles Milton

Giles Milton is a writer and historian. He is the internationally bestselling author of Nathaniel's Nutmeg, Big Chief Elizabeth, The Riddle and the Knight, White Gold, Samurai William, Paradise Lost, Wolfram and Russian Roulette. He has also written three novels and three children's books. His books have been translated into twenty languages. He lives in south London.Find out more about Giles and his books on his website, www.gilesmilton.com, and Wikipedia page, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giles_Milton, follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/survivehistory and like him on Facebook at facebook.com/pages/Giles-Milton-Writer/121068034610842.

Graham Hancock

As East Africa correspondent of The Economist in the early eighties Graham Hancock began to write a series of highly acclaimed books on economics, politics and foreign aid. His life took a whole new turn when he became fascinated by rumours that the Ark of the Covenant is real artefact, hidden somewhere in northern Africa. The story of his detective work, tracking it down to its supposed final resting place became the international bestseller The Sign and the Seal (now in production as a feature film.) More bestsellers in the field of 'alternative history' followed, including Fingerprints of the Gods, Keeper of Genesis (the latter co-authored with Robert Bauval) and Heaven's Mirror. In Supernatural he described his experiences journeying to experiment with hallucinogenic drugs amongst tribes people for whom they represent a gateway into supernatural realms. His ideas on exploring new dimensions in consciousness became the subject of his controversial TED talks.Graham Hancock's books have been translated into twenty-seven languages and have sold over nine million copies worldwide. His public lectures and broadcasts, including two major TV series for Channel 4, Quest for the Lost Civilisation, and Flooded Kingdoms of the Ice Age, have further established his reputation as an unconventional thinker who raises controversial questions about humanity`s past.

Joann Fletcher

Professor Joann Fletcher is based in the Department of Archaeology at the University of York, where she teaches world mummification and funerary archaeology. She is also Consultant Egyptologist for Harrogate Museums and Arts and archaeology advisor to Barnsley and Wigan museums. Joann is the author of nine books and numerous articles including contributions to the BBC's History website. Among her many television appearances, the follow-up programme to 'The Search For Nefertiti' (televised as 'Mummifying Alan: Egypt's Last Secret') won a BAFTA, a Royal Television Society Award and an Association for International Broadcasting Award. She wrote and presented 'Life and Death in the Valley of the Kings' and 'Egypt's Lost Queens' for BBC2, and has recently completed a four-part series on the history of ancient Egypt again for BBC2.

Joe Root

Joe Root is a product of Sheffield Collegiate, the same nursery that produced Michael Vaughan, while his patience and stubbornness at the crease had Geoffrey Boycott gushing that he reminded him of himself.The 2011 season proved to be a breakthrough season for Root as he made 1,013 runs at 36.17. His form earned him a call up to the England senior squad for their tour of India. He did not disappoint, marking his Test debut in Nagpur with 73 runs from 229 balls.Joe has become an increasingly prominent member of the England squad in all three formats of the game and in 2013 he continued his rapid international progress with a superb 71 as England defeated New Zealand by 140 runs in the first Test at Lord's. In the second Test, Joe hit a marvellous 104 to become the first Yorkshireman to score his maiden Test century at Headingley. He was subsequently named as player of the series as the home side clinched a 246-run second Test victory to win the series 2-0.Joe was promoted to opening batsman and played a prominent role as England secured their third successive Ashes victory in 2013. The highlight of his series came in the second Test, when he was named man of the match after scoring a sensational 180 at Lord's, becoming the youngest ever Englishman to do so at the home of cricket.After returning from injury he quickly scored two more Test centuries, one at Lord's against Sri Lanka where he finished with a career-best 200*.Joe scored an unbeaten 154 against India at Trent Bridge that helped England recover from 298-9 to post 496 as he and James Anderson shared a world record 10th wicket stand of 198 before scoring 149 not out in the fifth Test as his team secured a 3-1 series victory.There was yet another ton in the second Test against West Indies in April 2015, with an unbeaten 182 from 229 balls as England secured a nine-wicket win.The following month, Joe was named England Men's Player of the Year and celebrated with scores of 98 and 84 in England's first Test victory over New Zealand.Joe's performances in The 2015 Ashes Series led to him reaching the top of the ICC World batting rankings.

Kit Fielding

Kit Fielding was born to a large family in the late forties. His father took agricultural work to provide for them all and they moved often, in part due to Kit's mother who found it difficult to settle for any length of time, a legacy from her traveller roots. Kit left school at 15 to help earn money for the family. He took on various labouring jobs. He's now happily married, but still struggles with restlessness; he lives in a caravan somewhere by the sea.

L. V. Hay

L.V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. She is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin (2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucy is also head reader for the London Screenwriters' Festival and has written two non-fiction books, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, plus its follow-up Drama Screenplays. She lives in Devon with her husband, three children, six cats and five African Land Snails.Follow Lucy on Twitter @LucyVHayAuthor, on Facebook facebook.com/LucyHayB2W and her website: lucyvhayauthor.com

Mary Stewart

Mary Stewart was one of the 20th century's bestselling and best-loved novelists. She was born in Sunderland, County Durham in 1916, but lived for most of her life in Scotland, a source of much inspiration for her writing. Her first novel, Madam, Will You Talk? was published in 1955 and marked the beginning of a long and acclaimed writing career. In 1971 she was awarded the International PEN Association's Frederick Niven Prize for The Crystal Cave, and in 1974 the Scottish Arts Council Award for one of her children's books, Ludo and the Star Horse. She was married to the Scottish geologist Frederick Stewart, and died in 2014.

Michel Thomas

Michel Thomas (1914-2005) had an amazing life. Born in Poland, he spent his early years in Germany and then in France, where he studied psychology at the Sorbonne in Paris. When war broke out, he fought with the Resistance and suffered imprisonment in labour camps. At the end of the war he joined the US liberation army and later settled in the US where he established his world-famous language school. Languages, being his strength and passion became the focus of the next 50 years of his life that he spent developing a method that he hoped would change the way we teach and learn - so that everyone could succeed. He developed this method 'that works with the brain'. After creating several courses of his own, he passed on his method so that other teachers might use it too.

Natasha Solomons

Natasha Solomons is the author of the internationally bestselling Mr Rosenblum's List, The Novel in the Viola, which was chosen for the Richard & Judy Book Club, and The Gallery of Vanished Husbands. Natasha lives in Dorset with her son and her husband with whom she also writes screenplays. Her novels have been translated into 17 languages.

Nicholas Jubber

Nicholas Jubber moved to Jerusalem after graduating from Oxford University. He'd been working two weeks when the intifada broke out and he started planning to travel the Middle East and East Africa. He has written two previous books, The Prester Quest (winner of the Dolman Prize) and Drinking Arak Off an Ayatollah's Beard (shortlisted for the Dolman Prize). He has written for the Guardian, Observer, and the Globe and Mail.

Paula Gooder

Dr Paula Gooder is a writer and lecturer in Biblical Studies. Her research areas focus on the writings of the apostle Paul, with a particular focus on 2 Corinthians and on Paul's understanding of the body. Her passion is to ignite people's enthusiasm for reading the Bible today, by presenting the best of biblical scholarship in an accessible and interesting way. Paula is Director for Mission Learning and Development in the Birmingham Diocese for the Church of England.

Phil Craig

Phil Craig, the creator of the Finest Hour TV series, is a distinguished independent producer of political and historical documentaries.