This is the word that Sir Terry Pratchett, who, it was announced today, has died aged 66, wrote on my paperback edition of Reaper Man back in the summer of 1992. He scribbled a picture of a scythe beside it, and then his name beneath.
I was 18, and had just left school. The queue to meet him at the local bookshop snaked down the street. He was courteous and friendly, as I gather he always was with his readers, and patiently signed everyone’s books. It is strange to think that back then he was hardly older than I am now. What a fantastic life. And what an enormous amount of joy – and much wisdom, smuggled in amongst the humour – he brought to so many people.
If you’ve ever thought about writing fantasy yourself, you really should read his 2007 essay, “Notes From A Successful Fantasy Author: Keep It Real”. You can find it in the book of his collected non-fiction, A Slip of the Keyboard, though I first read it in the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook. It’s only a couple of pages, and full of sage advice for aspiring fantasy authors.
As the man himself said: “It only takes a tweak to make the whole world new.”
Photo: The Guardian