Since Shakespeare delighted Elizabeth I by giving Sir John Falstaff his own play, characters from stories have often had afterlives — existences outside the works that gave birth to them. John Pilkington argues that appropriating a character, and turning him or her into someone new, is very different from writing a mere sequel.
Travelling for biographical research can lead to all kinds of dead ends. But in her latest visit to South Africa, for a book on Doyle and Kipling’s role in the Anglo-Boer war, Sarah LeFanu found fresh inspiration – and a fresh connection with the long-departed dead – in a small, half-forgotten graveyard.
Campaigners are calling for more fiction – particularly children’s and young-adult fiction – to feature disabled characters. Yet in one genre, the detective novel, disabled protagonists have a long and distinguished history. Christina Koning connects that curious commonplace to another cliché, that of the emotionally damaged detective — and considers what drove her to make her own detective hero blind.
David Stuart Davies, a world authority on Sherlock Holmes, has loved the great detective since he was a boy. Here he investigates how Conan Doyle first created Holmes — and why he began to plot his own character’s death.