Related to: 'Every Word is a Bird We Teach to Sing'

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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Thinking in Numbers

Daniel Tammet
Authors:
Daniel Tammet

This is the book that Daniel Tammet, bestselling author and mathematical savant, was born to write. In Tammet's world, numbers are beautiful and mathematics illuminates our lives and minds. Using anecdotes and everyday examples, Tammet allows us to share his unique insights and delight in the way numbers, fractions and equations underpin all our lives.Inspired by the complexity of snowflakes, Anne Boleyn's sixth finger or his mother's unpredictable behaviour, Tammet explores questions such as why time seems to speed up as we age, whether there is such a thing as an average person and how we can make sense of those we love.Thinking in Numbers will change the way you think about maths and fire your imagination to see the world with fresh eyes.

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Embracing the Wide Sky

Daniel Tammet
Authors:
Daniel Tammet

Daniel Tammet captivated readers with his bestselling memoir, Born On A Blue Day, and its vivid depiction of a life with autistic savant syndrome. In his fascinating new book, Embracing the Wide Sky, Daniel combines the latest scientific research with insights drawn from his personal experience to shed light on the mysteries of how our minds work and the incredible feats of which each one of us is capable.A unique and brilliantly imaginative portrait of how we think, learn, remember and create, Embracing the Wide Sky is a profound and provocative book that will transform our understanding and respect for every kind of mind.

Hodder Paperbacks

Born On a Blue Day

Daniel Tammet
Authors:
Daniel Tammet

Alex Ferguson

Born in Glasgow in 1941, Sir Alex Ferguson was playing football at an international level as a school boy. He began his professional playing career in 1958 with Queen's Park. Four times winner of Manager of the Year, he has been the manager of Manchester United for thirteen years during a time when they have become the most successful and richest club in the world. MANAGING MY LIFE was awarded the British Book Awards' Book of the Year in 1999.Sir Alex Ferguson was born in 1941 in Govan, Scotland. A goal-scoring centre-forward, he was later transferred to Rangers for a Scottish record transfer fee. In 1974, he entered management with East Stirlingshire and St Mirren before joining Aberdeen, where consistent domestic success, followed by victory in the 1983 Cup Winners' Cup over Real Madrid, brought him wider attention.Arriving at Manchester United in 1986, he went on to accumulate 38 trophies, including five FA Cups, 13 Premier Leagues and two Champions Leagues. He was knighted in 1999, following Manchester United's remarkable Treble campaign, and his overall haul of 49 trophies makes him the most successful British manager of all time. Sir Alex announced his retirement in 2013, but he continues to serve United as a director and is a Fellow to the Executive Education Program at Harvard Business School.

Bonita Norris

Bonita Norris, 29, is the youngest person in the world to have reached both the summit of Mt Everest and the North Pole. She has undertaken 6 Himalayan/Karakoram expeditions, and when not on expedition, is a TV presenter and motivational speaker. She only began climbing aged 20 after a chance lecture about mountaineering inspired her to change her life.

Clare Pooley

Clare Pooley is a middle aged, over educated, over privileged, (formerly) overweight Mum of three who had a long love affair with high priced, good quality wine until she realised that the relationship was going nowhere but downhill, so she showed it the door and started blogging to take her mind off her broken heart. After eight months of living the sober high life, SoberMummy was diagnosed with breast cancer. She's currently kicking that one into touch too

David Mitchell

Born in 1969, David Mitchell grew up in Worcestershire. After graduating from Kent University, he taught English in Japan, where he wrote his first novel, Ghostwritten. Published in 1999, it was awarded the Mail on Sunday John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award. His second novel, number9dream, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and in 2003, David Mitchell was selected as one of Granta's Best of Young British Novelists. His third novel, Cloud Atlas, was shortlisted for six awards including the Man Booker Prize, and adapted for film in 2012. It was followed by Black Swan Green, shortlisted for the Costa Novel of the Year Award, and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, which was a No. 1 Sunday Times bestseller. Both were also longlisted for the Booker. In 2013, The Reason I Jump: One Boy's Voice From the Silence of Autism by Naoki Higashida was published in a translation from the Japanese by David Mitchell and KA Yoshida. It was an immediate bestseller in the UK and later in the US as well.

Elisabeth Smith

Elisabeth Smith was born and educated in Germany. She studied English at Hamburg University with a teaching career in mind, and well before EU days was offered her first assignment at a London prep school. While on contract in Africa she became sidetracked by commerce. She spent the next ten years learning about printing and publishing in Zambia before joining a publishing house in Johannesburg where she ultimately became the company's chief executive. In spite of climbing the corporate ladder she never lost her interest and skills in teaching languages. During the last 30 years she has taught French to English children, English to Zambian students, German at evening classes and Italian to her daughter "just for fun".Since moving to Spain she had to learn Spanish in a hurry - cutting across traditional learning methods. This gave her the inspiration for thehighly successful "Teach Yourself Instant..." series currently offering eight titles with a further four to be published in early 2001.Elisabeth Smith now lives in Marbella like a "proper" author with a volatile PC and two cats.

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.

Glennon Doyle

GLENNON DOYLE is the author of the New York Times bestseller Carry On, Warrior and the founder of the online community Momastery, where she reaches more than one million people each day. She is also the creator and president of Together Rising a non-profit organization that has raised over four million dollars for families around the world through its Love Flash Mobs, which have revolutionized online giving. Glennon is a sought-after public speaker and her work has been featured on The TODAY Show, The Talk, OWN, NPR, and in The New York Times, Glamour, Newsweek,the Huffington Post, and in other television and print outlets. Glennon lives in Florida.momastery.comtwitter.com/Momasteryfacebook.com/glennondoyleinstagram.com/glennondoyle

Henry Blofeld

Henry Blofeld has been a cricket writer for over forty years. He is commentates on the BBC's Test Match Special, and wrote for the Independent and the Independent on Sunday.

Jamie Buckingham

Jamie Buckingham is a freelance writer and pastor.

John Connolly

John Connolly is author of the Charlie Parker mysteries, The Book of Lost Things, the Samuel Johnson novels for young adults and, with his partner, Jennifer Ridyard, co-author of the Chronicles of the Invaders. John Connolly's debut - EVERY DEAD THING - introduced the character of Private Investigator Charlie Parker, and swiftly launched him right into the front rank of thriller writers. All his subsequent novels have been Sunday Times bestsellers. He was the winner of the 2016 CWA Short Story Dagger for On the Anatomization of an Unknown Man (1637) by Frans Mier from NIGHT MUSIC: Nocturnes Vol 2.In 2007 he was awarded the Irish Post Award for Literature. He was the first non-American writer to win the US Shamus award and the first Irish writer to win an Edgar award. BOOKS TO DIE FOR, which he edited with Declan Burke, was the winner of the 2013 Anthony, Agatha and Macavity awards for Best Non-Fiction work.

Jordan Belfort

Jordan Belfort was born in Queens, New York. He hustled ices to put himself through college, showing early entrepreneurial flair. His first business sent him bankrupt at twenty-four so he went down to Wall St with $100 in his pocket and ended up building one of the largest brokerages in America - the now infamous Stratton Oakmont. A hard partying lifestyle ended in crash and burn. Ultimately indicted by the federal government, Belfort served twenty-two months in prison, and time in rehab. He's now a highly successful motivational speaker.His story has been made into a Golden Globe-winning and Academy Award-nominated film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Martin Scorsese.He is currently living in Los Angeles.

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.

Laura Jane Williams

Laura Jane Williams has written about love, lust, and her feelings everywhere from The Guardian to Buzzfeed to RED, to the Telegraph, Stylist and more, and from September 2016 - February 2017 was Grazia's single girl dating columnist. She is the author of heartbreak memoir BECOMING, Marie Claire's #BREAKFREE from Fear ambassador, and blogs about being 'messily human' at www.superlativelyrude.com

Lorna Byrne

Lorna Byrne has been seeing and talking to angels since she was a baby. Now that her family is raised she talks openly about what she has learned. She lives quietly in rural Ireland. She is the author of the international bestsellers Angels in My Hair, Stairways to Heaven, A Message of Hope from the Angels and Love From Heaven. Her books have been translated into over twenty languages. For more information, visit www.lornabyrne.com or follow Lorna on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/lornabyrneangels

Mahmoud Gaafar

Mahmoud Gaafar worked for the United Nations and Radio Cairo and now authors print, radio and TV resources for the Arab World.

Michael Parkinson

Michael Parkinson was born in Cudworth, near Barnsley. He began his career as a journalist, but later moved to television where he worked for Granada on current affairs programmes before joining the BBC 24 hours team. In 1965 he began writing a weekly sports column for The Sunday Times. A passionate interest in film led to the publication of A Pictorial History of Westerns, his favourite film genre. His chat show Parkinson ran for 11 years, from 1971 until 1982 and he has interviewed almost everybody who was anybody with the exception of Frank Sinatra - a lasting regret. From 1979 to 1982 he also presented Parkinson for ABC and Channel 10 in Australia, and in the 1980s he was one of the founder members of TV AM.From 1990-92 he presented the Michael Parkinson Show on LBC, a daily, live three hour radio show. From 1986-87 he presented Desert Island Discs on Radio 4 and from 1994-96 he presented Parkinson on Sport for Radio 5. In 1996 Michael launched a Sunday morning show, Parkinson's Sunday Supplement on Radio 2, with music and guests which is still on air today.In 1990 Michael Parkinson joined the Daily Telegraph, writing a regular weekly column on sport. He has won numerous awards including, in 1995, Sports Feature Writer of the Year at the British Sport Journalism Awards. In 1998 he won awards for his work in three different branches of the media - a feat thought to be unique. He won a Sony Radio Award for Parkinson's Sunday Supplement, he was named Sports Writer of the Year at the Press Gazette British Press Awards and Media Personality of the Year by the Variety Club. In June 2000, Michael was awarded a CBE and Parkinson was named one of the top ten favourite British TV programmes of all time. A new series of Parkinson began on ITV in 2004 and continued till November 2007. He was awarded a knighthood for services to broadcasting in the 2008 New Year's honours list.Happily married to his wife Mary for nearly fifty years, they have three sons, and liv

Michel Thomas

Michel Thomas is a world-famous language teacher with an incredible skill to teach in days what usually takes years to learn. A psychology graduate, Michel survived starvation in French concentration and slave-labour camps, endured torture at the hands of Klaus Barbie and, after the war, hunted Nazis as an officer with US Counter Intelligence. These unique, challenging and varied experiences helped him to forge his revolutionary learning system that is in demand from heads of industry and movie stars alike.