Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Terry Pratchett – the legend lives on!
Terry Pratchett is one of those people whom you could say was born to be a writer. Born in Buckinghamshire in 1948, he began his career as a journalist in 1965 at the tender age of 17. When interviewing a publisher in 1968, he mentioned that he had written a book, The Carpet People. In 1971 it was published and the reviews were good, if few. The Dark Side of the Sun and Strata followed in 1978 and 1981 respectively.
After taking a job as Press Officer for the Central Electricity Generating Board, he published the first of his now famous Discworld novels, The Colour of Magic. After the fourth Discworld novel, Mort, was published, Pratchett gave up trying to earn an honest living and became a full-time writer. Since then he has steadily produced an average of two books a year. He is Britain’s second most successful writer, behind only J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter juggernaut, and his sales in the U.K. alone stand at more than 2.5 million copies per year.
The Discworld novels are set on a flat world balanced on the backs of four elephants which, in turn, stand on the back of a giant turtle, Great A'Tuin. Popular characters in the series include Granny Weatherwax and the witches of Lancre, Captain Vimes of the Night Watch in Ankh-Morpork, Rincewind the (failed) wizard, Death and the History Monks.
On 11th December 2007, Pratchett announced that he had been diagnosed with a very rare form of early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease, called posterior cortical atrophy. In a matter of hours, over 60 000 messages had been left on his website by concerned fans. However, Pratchett is still alive and as well as can be expected. He has said that the disease has impaired his ability to type and he now dictates his books and is also experimenting with speech-recognition software.
Amazingly, he has managed to write yet another book, bringing the number of Discworld novels to an astonishing 37. Unseen Academicals is about a football team being established at Unseen University, an academic establishment known for its magic, meals and wine, but not, alas for their sporting abilities. The highly anticipated book is due for release in the UK on 6th October 2009, although it may be a little longer before it is launched on South African shores.
Can you wait?