Related to: 'Jane Austen at Home'

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

Queen Victoria

Lucy Worsley
Authors:
Lucy Worsley

Bestselling author and historian Lucy Worsley tracks a new course through Queen Victoria's life, examining how she transformed from dancing princess to the Widow of Windsor and became one of Britain's greatest monarchs along the way. Taking twenty-four significant days from Victoria's life, from her birth, her wedding, her coronation to her husband's death, and many more in between, allows us to see Victoria up close and personal, examining how she lived hour to hour. Published to coincide with the 200th anniversary of Queen Victoria's birth, this major new biography will celebrate Queen Victoria as a woman of her time, who lived an extraordinary life.

Akala

Akala is a MOBO-award winning musician, poet, activist and the founder of The Hip Hop Shakespeare Company, He has spoken and written about politics and race on Newsnight, This Week, and Frankie Boyle's Political Autopsy and in the Guardian, as well as doing TEDx and Oxford Union lectures that have clocked up over a million views on Youtube.

Benedict Wells

Benedict Wells was born in 1984 in Munich. At the age of six, he started his journey through three Bavarian boarding schools. Upon graduating school in 2003, he moved to Berlin, where he decided against an academic education and instead started to dedicate his time to writing. In 2016 he won the European Union Prize for Literature for his third novel, The End of Loneliness, which has been in the German bestseller list for over a year. After years of living in Barcelona, Wells has recently returned to Berlin.

Brendan Cox

Brendan Cox was Jo's husband and is dad to their two children.For the last eighteen months he has been working to combat growing xenophobia and intolerance across Europe.Brendan's royalties for this book will go to the Jo Cox Foundation.jocoxfoundation.org

Caitlin Davies

Caitlin Davies was born in London in 1964. She is the author of five novels and five non-fiction books, and has worked as a teacher and freelance journalist for 25 years. In 1989 she moved to Botswana where she worked for the country's first tabloid newspaper, the Voice, and later as editor of the Okavango Observer. She received a Journalist of the Year award. From 2014-2017 she worked as a Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the University of Westminster, Harrow, in the faculty of Media, Arts & Design. Caitlindavies.co.uk@CaitlinDavies2

David McClay

David McClay is former senior curator of the John Murray Archive at the National Library of Scotland (2006-16) and now works at the University of Edinburgh. He is a trustee of Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott, and has been involved in numerous national and international exhibitions on Byron and other Romantic-era themes, on which subjects he also speaks and lecturers. A great letter enthusiast, David himself doesn't write as many letters as he should.

Eva Schloss

Eva is in her mid-eighties and lives with her husband Zvi in North London. After the war she became a professional photographer (using the Leica camera Otto Frank had given her) and later opened an antiques shop in Edgware, which she ran for decades. She co-founded The Anne Frank Trust to perpetuate Anne and her step-father Otto's legacy. She was awarded an MBE in this year's New Years Honours for her work in schools, educating children on the perils of intolerance.Karen Bartlett is a writer and journalist based in London. She has written for The Sunday Times, The Times, The Guardian and WIRED from Africa, India and the U.S, and has presented and produced for BBC radio. She was the youngest Director of democratic reform and human rights campaign group Charter88, and began her career in the UK and South Africa.

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.

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.

Helen Pankhurst

Dr Helen Pankhurst is a women's rights activist and senior advisor to CARE International, based in the UK and in Ethiopia. She has extensive media experience including national and international radio and print interviews, and was involved in the 2015 film Suffragette. Her work in Ethiopia includes support to program development across different sectors, focused on the interests and needs of women and girls. In the UK she is a public speaker and writer on feminist issues. She also leads CARE International's Walk In Her Shoes event in London - on International Women's Day. Helen is the great-granddaughter of Emmeline Pankhurst and granddaughter of Sylvia Pankhurst, leaders of the British suffragette movement. @helenPankhurst

Jasper Fforde

Jasper Fforde traded a varied career in the film industry for staring out of the window and chewing the end of a pencil. He lives and works in Wales and has a passion for aviation.Visit Jasper's website, www.jasperfforde.com, find him on Facebook, www.facebook.com/jasperffordebooks, and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jasperfforde.

John Julius Norwich

John Julius Norwich was born in 1929. After National Service, he took a degree in French and Russian at New College, Oxford. In 1952 he joined the Foreign Service serving at the embassies in Belgrade and Beirut and with the British Delegation to the Disarmament Conference at Geneva. His publications include The Normans in Sicily; Mount Athos (with Reresby Sitwell); Sahara; The Architecture of Southern England; Glyndebourne; and A History of Venice. He is also the author of a three-volume history of the Byzantine Empire. He has written and presented some thirty historical documentaries for television, and is a regular lecturer on Venice and numerous other subjects. Lord Norwich is chairman of the Venice in Peril Fund, Co-chairman of the World Monuments Fund and a former member of the Executive Committee of the National Trust. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the Royal Geographical Society and the Society of Antiquaries, and a Commendatore of the Ordine al Merito della Repubblica Italiana. He was made a CVO in 1993.

Johnny Sherwood

Johnny Sherwood was one of eleven children, and played professional football for Islington Corinthians, Middlesbrough, Reading, Aldershot and Crystal Palace. During the war, he was a Sergeant in the Royal Artillery. Johnny suffered lifelong effects from his POW years, but nonetheless went on to become a pub landlord and successful bookie. He raised three children and was the proud grandfather of six grandchildren.

Kassia St Clair

Kassia St Clair studied the history of women's dress and the masquerade during the eighteenth-century at Bristol and Oxford. She has since written about design and culture for the Economist, House & Garden, Quartz and 1843, and has had a column about colour in Elle Decoration since 2013. She lives in London.www.kassiastclair.com

Kingsley Donaldson

KINGSLEY DONALDSON is a retired Army officer. He has served on operations in a number of European and Middle Eastern countries in various roles that span from countering weapons of mass destruction through to negotiating with armed groups in Iraq. His last appointments at the Ministry of Defence were concerned with national defence and security strategy. He now advises a number of governments in his role as Director of the Causeway Institute for Peace-building Conflict Resolution International.

Laura Carlin

Laura Carlin left school at 16 to work in retail banking and it was only after leaving her job to write full-time that she discovered her passion for storytelling and exploring pockets of history through fiction. She lives in a book-filled house in beautiful rural Derbyshire with her family (and a very naughty cat). When she's not writing she enjoys walking in the surrounding Peak District. The Wicked Cometh is her first novel.

Lucy Worsley

Lucy Worsley is an historian, author, curator and television presenter. Lucy read history at New College, Oxford and worked for English Heritage before becoming Chief Curator at the charity Historic Royal Palaces. She also presents history programmes for the BBC, and her bestselling books include Jane Austen at Home, A Very British Murder: The Curious Story of how Crime was Turned into Art, If Walls Could Talk: An Intimate History of the Home, Courtiers: the Secret History of the Georgian Court and Cavalier: The Story of a 17th century Playboy.

Malcolm Guite

Malcolm Guite, a poet, theologian, and song-writer, is the Chaplain of Girton College, Cambridge where he also teaches for the Divinity Faculty. He lectures widely in England and North America on theology and literature. He has published poetry, theology, and literary criticism, and worked as a librettist. He is married with two children. Living in Cambridge allows him to indulge his passions for old books, old pubs and live music. He also enjoys sailing, walking, and all the varieties of the English countryside and weather.

Michael Jones

Michael Jones was awarded a history PhD by Bristol University, and subsequently taught at Glasgow University and Winchester College. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a member of the British Commission for Military History, and works now as a writer, media consultant and presenter. He has written books on the battles of Bosworth, Agincourt and Stalingrad, the siege of Leningrad and the battle for Moscow, as well as Total War: From Stalingrad to Berlin. Most recently he has co-authored The King's Grave: The Search for Richard III.

Nicholas Tomalin

Nicholas Tomalin studied English literature at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He was a featured columnist for the Daily Express, the Sunday Times, and the Evening Standard, before becoming literary editor of the New Statesman. He was nominated for Reporter of the Year for his coverage of the war in Vietnam. Tomalin was killed in Israel in 1973 while reporting on the Yom Kippur War.