Related to: 'Bad Girls'

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.

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The official print edition of the internet phenomenon. Already over 8,000 five star different reader reviews. (And counting.)It's been six weeks since the angels of the apocalypse destroyed the world as we know it. Only pockets of humanity remain. Savage street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When angels fly away with a helpless girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back...

Caitlin Davies

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Coretta Scott King

Coretta Scott King was an American civil rights activist, international human rights champion, author, the wife of Martin Luther King Jr., and the mother of four. Born in 1927 in Heiberger, Alabama, she died in 2006 in Rosarito Beach, Mexico.

H.B. Lyle

H.B. Lyle lives in South London with his partner and their twin daughters. After a career infeature film development, he took an MA in creative writing - then PhD - at the University ofEast Anglia, an experience which led to the creation of The Irregular. He also writes screenplaysand teaches undergraduates.

Hannah Jewell

Hannah Jewell is a pop culture host and editor at The Washington Post, and a former senior writer at BuzzFeed UK, where she became known for her humour writing about gender, her satire of British and American politics. She presented BuzzFeed's live 2016 election night show, which was watched by nearly 7 million people. Born in the UK, she grew up in California and did her undergraduate study at UC Berkeley in Middle East Studies, then moved to the UK for an MPhil in International Relations and Politics at Cambridge. Now, she combines her background in history and politics with her love of the internet to write about remarkable women of the past with an accessible, hilarious, and sometimes sweary style.

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

Horatio Clare

Horatio Clare has worked on Front Row and Nightwaves, and produced Radio 3`s The Verb. Born in 1973, Clare has written for The Spectator, the New Statesman, the Guardian, and the Daily Telegraph.

Jessi Klein

JESSI KLEIN is the Emmy and Peabody award-winning head writer and an executive producer of Comedy Central's critically acclaimed series Inside Amy Schumer. She's also written for Amazon's Transparent as well as Saturday Night Live. She has been featured on the popular storytelling series The Moth, and has been a regular panelist on NPR's Wait Wait...Don't Tell Me! She's been published in Esquire and Cosmopolitan, and has had her own half-hour Comedy Central stand-up special.twitter.com/jessirklein

Joanne Lipman

Joanne Lipman was founding Editor-in-Chief of Condé Nast Portfolio magazine, and is a former deputy managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, where she supervised coverage that earned three Pulitzer prizes and earned the epithet 'Innovator in Chief' from the late David Carr. She is a frequent television commentator and has appeared on CNN, NBC, CNBC, and CBS, among others. She also co-authored the critically acclaimed Strings Attached: One Tough Teacher and the Gift of Great Expectations.

John Betjeman

John Betjeman was born in London on 28 August 1906. He was educated at Marlborough and Magdalen College, Oxford. In 1931 his first book of poems, 'Mount Zion', was published by an old Oxford friend, Edward James. His second book was 'Ghastly Good Taste', a commentary on architecture, published in 1934. He was knighted in 1969 and was appointed Poet Laureate in 1972. John Betjeman died on 19 May 1984 at his home in Trebetherick, Cornwall and was buried at the nearby church of St Enodoc.

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.

Juliet Nicolson

Juliet Nicolson is the author of two works of non fiction that bookend the First World War, The Perfect Summer and The Great Silence, as well as a novel, Abdication. She writes for the Daily Telegraph, the Mail on Sunday and the Evening Standard, among other publications. She read English at Oxford University and has worked in publishing in the UK and the US. She is married, has two daughters and lives in East Sussex.

Juno Dawson

JUNO DAWSON is the multi-award-winning author of dark teen thrillers. Her first non-fiction book, BEING A BOY, tackled puberty, sex and relationships in a frank and funny fashion, and a follow-up for young LGBT people, THIS BOOK IS GAY, came out in 2014. Juno is a regular contributor to Attitude Magazine, GT and the Guardian and has contributed to news items concerning sexuality, identity, literature and education on BBC Woman's Hour, Front Row, This Morning and Newsnight. She writes full time and lives in Brighton.

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

Kate Fox

Kate Fox, a social anthropologist, is Co-Director of the Social Issues Research Centre in Oxford and a Fellow of the Institute for Cultural Research. She is also a bestselling author of popular social science.Her work involves monitoring and assessing global sociocultural trends, and has included research, publications, lectures, consultancy work and broadcasts on many aspects of human behaviour, including: drinking, risk-taking, beauty and body image, flirting and courtship, crying, patriotism, pub behaviour and pub culture, horseracing, social class, mobile phones, the internet, online social media, menopausal women, cars and driving, gossip, taboos, violence and disorder, attitudes to work, coming of age in the 21st century, motherhood, shopping, individualism, the effects of health scares, the psychology of smell and the meaning of chips. Her most recent book is the major popular bestseller Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour. This book has sold over half a million copies, and is translated into many languages including Chinese, Russian, Polish, Korean and Thai.Kate's other books include The Racing Tribe: Watching the Horsewatchers and Drinking and Public Disorder (co-author with Dr Peter Marsh). Kate is regularly invited to speak at the major literary festivals, as well as guest lectures and seminars at universities, institutes, embassies, trade and professional conferences, etc. in the UK and overseas. She gave the Christmas Lecture at the Royal Geographical Society, and won a debate against Boris Johnson for Intelligence Squared, among other high-profile engagements. She is frequently quoted in the Press and interviewed on radio and television. Kate has also been a regular columnist for Psychologies magazine.Kate is married to the neurosurgeon Henry Marsh, CBE.

Lucy Worsley

Lucy Worsley is an historian, author, curator and television presenter. Lucy read Ancient and Modern History at New College, Oxford and worked for English Heritage before becoming Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces, based at Hampton Court. She also presents history programmes for the BBC including 'Empire of the Tsars: Romanov Russia with Lucy Worsley' and 'Lucy Worsley's Reins of Power: The Art of Horse Dancing'. Her bestselling books include 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.

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.

Patrick Leigh Fermor

In December 1933, at the age of eighteen, Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011) walked across Europe, reaching Constantinople in early 1935. He travelled on into Greece, where in Athens he met Balasha Cantacuzene, with whom he lived - mostly in Rumania - until the outbreak of war. Serving in occupied Crete, he led a successful operation to kidnap a German general, for which he won the DSO and was once described by the BBC as 'a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene'. After the war he began writing, and travelled extensively round Greece with Joan Eyres Monsell whom he later married. Towards the end of his life he wrote the first two books about his early trans-European odyssey, A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water. He planned a third, unfinished at the time of his death in 2011, which has since been edited by Colin Thubron and Artemis Cooper and published as The Broken Road.

Peter Hopkirk

Peter Hopkirk travelled widely in the regions where his six books are set: Central Asia, the Caucasus, China, Russia, India and Pakistan, Iran, and Eastern Turkey. He worked as an ITN reporter, the New York correspondent of the old Daily Express, and - for twenty years - on The Times. No stranger to misadventure, he was twice held in secret police cells and has was also hijacked by Arab terrorists. His works have been translated into many languages. All six of his books are available from John Murray: THE GREAT GAME, ON SECRET SERVICE EAST OF CONSTANTINOPLE, SETTING THE EAST ABLAZE, TRESPASSERS ON THE ROOF OF THE WORLD, FOREIGN DEVILS ON THE SILK ROAD and QUEST FOR KIM.

Peter Stanford

Peter Stanford's previous investigations into the history, theology, enduring appeal and cultural significance of religious ideas include Martin Luther: Catholic Dissident; Judas: The Troubling History of the Renegade Apostle; The Devil - A Biography; Heaven - A Traveller's Guide to the Undiscovered Country; and The She-Pope, an investigation of the Pope Joan legend. His other books include biographies of Bronwen Astor, Lord Longford and the Poet Laureate, C Day-Lewis, plus the polemical Catholics and Sex that became an award-winning Channel 4 series in 1992. He is a senior features writer at the Daily and Sunday Telegraph titles, and contributes to the Independent, the Observer, the Daily Mail and the Catholic weekly, the Tablet, where he is a columnist. He has presented programmes on BBC 1, Channel 4 and Channel 5, as well as BBC Radios 2 and 4 and the BBC World Service.