As a girl, Joan saw visions and heard voices which told her to help the dauphin become the King of France. She was told to end the siege at Orleans so the dauphin could cross the river and enter the French city of Rheims, which was occupied by the English. The coronation of Charles VII did happen there, as Joan believed. Many people, including Charles VII, were convinced that Joan was influenced by God, and was the fulfilment of the legends which foretold that a maid would lead France to victory over the English. It seems that when the voices stopped telling Joan to attack but she did anyway, the French started losing battles. Joan lost her popularity once she stopped winning.
Joan was caught and sold to the English, who tried to prove that she was lying about the voices and was evil. She was framed after being kept in terrible living conditions, and after months of her intelligent replies to cross-examinations Joan was burned to death at the stake at the age of nineteen.
Lili Wilkinson remembers the day in Beijing when she learned how to read 'in her head'. She was six and has been immersed in the world of books ever since. It is an obsession she shares with her mother, Carole Wilkinson (the China trip was her inspiration for the award-winning Dragonkeeper).
Lili's first book, Joan of Arc, combines her interest in fiction, history and research. Lili lives in inner-city Melbourne, and loves reading, movies, shoes, the work of Jim Henson and Japanese food.
Source: Black Dog Books (used with permission)