Related to: 'Nobody's Child'

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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Fighting on the Home Front

Kate Adie
Authors:
Kate Adie

'History at its most celebratory' Daily Telegraph'Adie uses her journalistic eye for personal stories and natural compassion to create a book definitely worthy of her heroines' Big Issue'Fascinating, very readable . . . provides a complete wartime women's history' Discover Your History* * * * * *Bestselling author and award-winning former BBC Chief News Correspondent Kate Adie reveals the ways in which women's lives changed during World War One and what the impact has been for women in its centenary year.IN 1914 THE WORLD CHANGED forever. When World War One broke out and a generation of men went off to fight, bestselling author and From Our Own Correspondent presenter Kate Adie shows how women emerged from the shadows of their domestic lives.Now a visible force in public life, they began to take up essential roles - from transport to policing, munitions to sport, entertainment, even politics. They had finally become citizens, a recognised part of the war machine, acquiring their own rights and often an independent income.The former BBC Chief News Correspondent charts the seismic move towards equal rights with men that began a century ago and through unique first-hand research shows just how momentous the achievements of those pioneering women were.This is history at its best - a vivid, compelling account of the women who helped win the war as well as a revealing assessment of their legacy for women's lives today.

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Into Danger

Kate Adie
Authors:
Kate Adie

'Reported with skill and personal insight' The TimesBestselling author and the most famous woman in a flak jacket Kate Adie sets out on a fascinating journey to discover just who is attracted to living dangerously - and why.Ever since her days as a reporter on the front line in Iraq and the Iranian Embassy siege in London, Kate Adie has earned her reputation as one of the most intrepid women of her day. Throughout her career she has regularly reported from the world's most dangerous war zones - often placing her own life at serious risk. It has given her a curiosity about the people who are attracted to danger. Why when so many are fearful of anything beyond their daily routine, are others drawn towards situations, or professions which put them in regular peril of their lives? It has proved a fascinating quest that has taken her to the four corners of the globe in pursuit of an answer. She has met those who choose a career in danger, like stuntpeople, landmine exploders, and even a 'snake man' who - aged 96 - has been bitten countless times by poisonous snakes to find venom for vaccines. She has questioned those whose actions put them in danger, like Sir Richard Leakey whose determination to speak out in Kenya nearly cost him his life, as well as criminals and prostitutes who risk all for money. And of course there are those who - through no choice of their own - have been put in danger, such as Saddam Hussein's food taster - not his career of choice. With Kate's insight, wit, and gift for illumination, this is a compelling read.

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Corsets To Camouflage

Kate Adie, (In Assoc. With Imperial, The Imperial War Museum
Authors:
Kate Adie, (In Assoc. With Imperial, The Imperial War Museum

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.

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.

Carl Gorham

Carl Gorham created the cult animated show Stressed Eric for BBC2 and adapted the best-selling Meg and Mog children's books for ITV. He has also written sketches, monologues and sitcoms for both radio and television including The Gorham and Swift Show (BBC Radio 2), The Very Old Pretenders (BBC Radio 4) and, most recently, a new sitcom pilot Martin for ITV starring Alan Davies. He has won numerous awards including two British Animation Awards and an Indie, and he is a British Comedy Award and Bafta nominee. He lives in North Norfolk with his daughter.

Carolyn Fry

Carolyn Fry is the former editor of Geographical, the magazine of the Royal Geographic Society and has travelled the world in search of stories. She has written five books on botanical themes, including the acclaimed Plant Hunters.

Claire Lorrimer

Claire Lorrimer wrote her first book at the age of twelve, encouraged by her mother, the bestselling author Denise Robins. After the Second World War, during which Claire served on secret duties, she started her career as a romantic novelist under her maiden name, Patricia Robins. In 1970 she began writing her magnificent family sagas and thrillers under the name Claire Lorrimer. She is currently at work on her seventy-first book. Claire lives in Kent.

David Ashton

DAVID ASHTON was born in Greenock in 1941. He studied at Central Drama School, London, from 1964 to 1967, and most recently appeared in The Last King of Scotland and The Etruscan Smile. David started writing in 1984 and he has seen many of his plays and TV adaptations broadcast - he wrote early episodes of EastEnders and Casualty, and twelve McLevy series for BBC Radio 4.inspectormclevy.com

Gervase Phinn

Dr Gervase Phinn is a teacher, freelance lecturer, author, poet, educational consultant and visiting professor of education. For fourteen years he taught in a range of schools, then acted as General Adviser for Language Development in Rotherham before moving on to North Yorkshire, where he spent ten years as a school inspector - time that has provided much source material for his books. He has four grown up children and four grandchildren and lives near Doncaster. Visit Gervase's website, www.gervase-phinn.com.

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 London.

Jo Milne

Joanne Milne was born in Gateshead in 1974. She was diagnosed as profoundly deaf at 16 months old but it wasn't until she was 29 that she was registered as blind and found to have Usher Syndrome. In 2014 she underwent a cochlear implant operation which gave her the ability to hear for the first time. Her story was picked up by the world's media and the clip of her implants being turned on was viewed by more than four million people. Today Jo is an ambassador for deaf children and leads a 'changing perceptions of hidden disability' campaign. She is also a columnist and regular radio and tv spokesperson.

Kathy Willis

Kathy Willis is director of science at Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. She is also professor of long-term ecology and a fellow of Merton College, both at Oxford University. Winner of several awards, she has spent over 20 years researching and teaching biodiversity and conservation at Oxford and Cambridge.

Lynda Bellingham

Lynda enjoyed a career spanning forty-five years. Her roles covered drama as Helen Herriott in All Creatures Great and Small and comedy in her own series Faith in the Future, which won Best Comedy in 1998. She also managed to give us a twirl in Strictly Come Dancing and plenty of lip as a Loose Woman for six years. She created the role of Chris in the stage version of Calendar Girls and after a successful run in the West End went on to spend four years playing to full houses in a nationwide tour and she is still loved and remembered as the long-suffering mum in the OXO commercials. Lynda had previously written Lost and Found which was a Sunday Times bestseller and she enjoyed bestselling success with her fiction writing too. Her real life family brought her great joy and she lived in north London with her youngest son, Robert, and her stepson Bradley, while her eldest son Michael lived just round the corner. She finally found true happiness with her husband Michael Pattemore and they were married in 2008 on her sixtieth birthday. Lynda sadly lost her battle with cancer in October 2014.

Marina Fiorato

Marina Fiorato is half-Venetian. She was born in Manchester and raised in the Yorkshire Dales. She is a history graduate of Oxford University and the University of Venice, where she read for a master's degree in Shakespeare. After university she studied art and worked in the film and music industries, creating visuals for U2, The Rolling Stones and the Queen musical We Will Rock You. Her novels Daughter of Siena and Beatrice & Benedick were shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists' Association Historial Fiction Award. Marina was married on the Grand Canal and lives in north London with her husband, son and daughter. You can find out more about Marina and her writing at www.marinafiorato.com and follow her on Twitter @marinafiorato

Martin Faulks

Martin Faulks is a martial arts champion and Mystical adventurer. He has a black belt in Japanese Ninjutsu (Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu) and the Korean martial art, Kuk Sool Won and is proficient in the spiritual disciplines of China, including Tai Chi, Qi Gong and the legendary form of Yi Jin Jing.He is a three time national martial arts champion* and a regional fencing champion. Martin has travelled extensively and trained with some of the world's most skilled martial arts masters, including such famous masters as Bo ou Mander, Grand Master Masaaki Hatsumi, Noguchi Sensei, Stephen Hayes and Michael Pearce. He won gold medals at the (Kuk Sool Won) National Korean Martial Arts Association tournament 1993, 1994, and 1995. For Martin the Ninja arts are about secret knowledge. Knowledge that can lead to enlightenment and can allow you to aid your fellow man, through which he feels he gains a complete and balanced view of the spiritual mysteries. His previous works include:Gateways to Health: Secrets of Rejuvenation andButterfly Tai Chi: Health, Energy and Tranquility in 10 Minutes a Day

Max Pemberton

Max Pemberton is a doctor, writer and journalist. His first book, Trust Me, I'm a (Junior) Doctor, was a Radio 4 Book of the Week, and was subsequently followed by two more books about his experiences working in the NHS, Where Does it Hurt? and The Doctor Will See You Now. He is currently a columnist for the Daily Mail and Reader's Digest, and a regular contributor to the Spectator.

Melvyn Bragg

Melvyn Bragg is a writer and broadcaster whose first novel, For Want of a Nail, was published in 1965. His novels since include The Maid of Buttermere, The Soldier's Return, Credo and Now is the Time, which won the Parliamentary Book Award for fiction in 2016. His books have also been awarded the Time/Life Silver Pen Award, the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the WHSmith Literary Award, and have been longlisted three times for the Booker Prize (including the Lost Man Booker Prize). He has also written several works of non-fiction, including The Adventure of English and The Book of Books about the King James Bible. He lives in London and Cumbria.

Mikey Walsh

Mikey Walsh was one of the first Romany Gypsies ever to write a book. He grew up living in a caravan on sites across the UK, and had hardly any schooling. He taught himself to read and write, and his first book Gypsy Boy published in 2008 and became a Number 1 Bestseller. It sold all over the world and a film adaptation is in the works as a joint production between BBC Films and Bowery & Bond.Mikey's second book, Gypsy Boy on the Run follows Mikey as he leaves the Gypsy camp, and takes his first steps in to the real - Gorgia - world, to find a place to belong.Mikey has had overwhelming support from all over the world since the publication of Gypsy Boy, including Stephen Fry who tweeted, 'It was a revelation. Moving, terrifying, funny and brilliant. I shall never forget it - an amazing achievement'. Attitude magazine called it 'the best memoir since Running with Scissors' and even Dermot O'Leary and Dannii Minogue have reviewed it.

Olly Murs

Number one best selling singer Olly Murs has sold over 10 million records since reaching the final of the X Factor in 2009. Olly`s is a multi-platinum selling artist with his albums selling over a million copies. His fourth album Never Been Better went straight to number one and sold over 100,000 copies in the first week alone. For more information on Olly Murs please go to www.ollymurs.com and www.facebook.com/ollymurs. You can also follow Olly on twitter at www.twitter.com/ollyofficial