Goodbye, Sir Terry

This afternoon I heard the sad news that Sir Terry Pratchett had died. There’s not much I can say about this that isn’t already pouring out over Twitter, and I’m sure we’ll see plenty of thoughtful articles and obituaries in the coming days from those lucky enough to actually know him.

I didn’t know him of course, but I still had a small cry at the news this afternoon (only a small one as was still at work, and didn’t want to have to explain why I was crying over the death of someone I didn’t know). I started reading the Discworld books aged about 13, and haven’t missed a new one since. I’ve also read a number of his other books, most recently the Long Earth series, which I’ve been hugely impressed by. I learned so much from Pratchett’s take on the world – the voice of my conscience always sounds something like Granny Weatherwax…

I have also never found a writer better for encouraging reluctant readers. My brother hadn’t picked up a book since being forced to at school, and had long declared himself a committed non-reader, until in his late 20s he finally let the teenage me persuade him to read one of these great comic fantasy books I wouldn’t stop talking about. He was hooked after The Colour of Magic, and still has a couple of my Discworld books in his possession (I know exactly where they are…). He is far from the only person I’ve seen convinced that there might be something to this reading lark, after all, thanks to Sir Terry. For Christmas last year, I bought my brother’s 8-year-old son – a similarly reluctant reader – Pratchett’s latest children’s book, Dragons at Crumbling Castle. My brother said nothing when he saw it, just gave me a massive hug.

I may not have known Terry Pratchett, but I will miss him. Rest in peace.

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