Terry Pratchett (1948 – 2015)

Terry Pratchett
Terry Pratchett

I was very sad to hear that one of my heroes had died recently. 

When I was a teenager, I really wanted to be a writer and Terry Pratchett wrote me a wonderful letter full of advice and encouragement. I remember being surprised at how quickly he had written back to me (I wondered how he could possibly have the time to write to someone like me, given how prolific he was).

I had the chance to meet him once at a book signing. It was around the time “the Last Hero” came out, a large format book beautifully illustrated on every page.

I was very shy. My Dad made a joke about how small the bookshop’s cardboard cutout of Terry Pratchett was and wondered whether the real Terry Pratchett was the same size, and a woman in front of us in the queue gave him a very stern look.

The real Terry Pratchett was very friendly, said I had a nice smile, and drew a little mouse in my copy of The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents.

(Years later, during my illustration degree, I was excited to spot Paul Kidby’s original illustrations for “The Last Hero” in the Chris Beetles gallery.)

Alzheimer’s disease is so cruel and hopeless it makes you question the point of anything. It breaks apart everything that makes us who we are – language, memory, identity. It also sets in stark relief what life really boils down to – the kindness we can show towards other people, the things we can create and share with others, and the importance of really living in the moment, because it’s all we will ever really have.

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