Related to: 'Queen Mary'

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 Quest for Queen Mary

James Pope-Hennessy, Hugo Vickers
Authors:
James Pope-Hennessy, Hugo Vickers

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.

Anna Jacobs

Anna Jacobs grew up in Lancashire and emigrated to Australia, but still visits the UK regularly to see her family and do research, something she loves. She is addicted to writing and figures she'll have to live to be 120 at least to tell all the stories that keep popping up in her imagination and nagging her to write them down. She's also addicted to her own hero, to whom she's been happily married for many years.She is the bestselling author of over eighty novels and has been shortlisted for several awards, and Pride of Lancashire won the Australian Romantic Book of the Year Award in 2006.You can find out more on her website, www.annajacobs.com or on her Facebook page, www.facebook.com/Anna.Jacobs.Books.

Anne Glenconner

Lady Glenconner is now 87. She was born Lady Anne Coke in 1932, the eldest daughter of the 5th Earl of Leicester, and growing up in their ancestral estate at Holkham Hall in Norfolk. A Maid of Honour at the Queen's Coronation, she married Lord Glenconner in 1956. They had 5 children together of whom 3 survive. In 1958 she and her husband began to transform the island of Mustique into a paradise for the rich and famous. They granted a plot of land to Princess Margaret who built her favourite home there. She was appointed Lady in Waiting to Princess Margaret in 1971 and kept this role - accompanying her on many state occasions and foreign tours - until her death in 2002. Lord Glenconner died in 2010, leaving everything in his will to his former employee. She now lives in a farmhouse near Kings Lynn in Norfolk.

Bernard Minier

Bernard Minier grew up in south-west France and spent a happy childhood in the foothills of the Pyrenees before going to university in Toulouse, the town where Servaz is a policeman. He currently lives near Paris. He has received several awards for his short stories. All three novels in the Servaz series, THE FROZEN DEAD, A SONG FOR DROWNED SOULS and DON'T TURN OUT THE LIGHTS, have been bestsellers in France, and his writing has been translated into German, Italian, Polish, Spanish, Russian and Hungarian as well as English. He has twice won the prestigious Prix Polar at the Cognac Crime Festival.

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.

Brett Westwood

Brett Westwood is an award-winning producer, presenter and naturalist. He presented the radio series of Natural Histories. His other acclaimed radio series range from Tweet of the Day (winner of Best Radio Series 2014) to Brett Westwood's Diaries. He is also a consultant for Springwatch and Autumnwatch.

Countess Of Carnarvon

Lady Fiona Carnarvon married the current Earl of Carnarvon in 1999, and they took over Highclere eight years ago.

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.

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.

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

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.

Louise Welsh

Louise Welsh is the author of eight novels including The Cutting Room, A Lovely Way to Burn and Death is a Welcome Guest. She has received numerous awards and international fellowships, including an Honorary Doctor of Arts from Edinburgh Napier University and an honorary fellowship from the University of Iowa's International Writing Program. Louise Welsh is Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow.

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.

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.

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.

Phil Craig

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

Ranulph Fiennes

Sir Ranulph Fiennes was the first man to reach both poles by surface travel and the first to cross the Antarctic Continent unsupported. In the 1960s he was removed from the SAS Regiment for misuse of explosives but, joining the army of the Sultan of Oman, received that country's Bravery Medal on active service in 1971. He is the only person yet to have been awarded two clasps to the Polar medal for both Antarctic and the Arctic regions. Fiennes has led over 30 expeditions including the first polar circumnavigation of the Earth, and in 2003 he ran seven marathons in seven days on seven continents in aid of the British Heart Foundation.In 1993 Her Majesty the Queen awarded Fiennes the Order of the British Empire (OBE) because, on the way to breaking records, he has raised over £14 million for charity. He was named Best Sportsman in the 2007 ITV Great Briton Awards and in 2009 he became the oldest Briton to reach the summit of Everest.