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David Mitchell on The King’s Speech & Stammering Myths

In an essay about The King’s Speech in Prospect magazine, author David Mitchell wrote frankly about his own struggle with a stammer and praised the Academy Award-winning film.

In the essay, the novelist explained the stammering character into his novel, Black Swan Green. He also debunked common myths about speech defects that he spotted in television, books, and films–including the myth that a stammer can be “cured” by forcing someone to speak publicly.

Here’s an excerpt: “[In] Shakespeare in Love, where a hitherto tongue-tied stammerer is forced onto the stage of the Globe, and lo and behold, his verbal shackles fall away. If only. I remember pleading with an otherwise astute deputy headmistress to waive my prefect’s school assembly reading, something I’d been dreading for many years. She agreed, but not without implying that by submitting to my cowardice I was avoiding the chance to cure myself.”

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