‘No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world fade away’
Yesterday, Sir Terry Pratchett passed away naturally, surrounded by his family and cat, at the tragically early age of sixty six. Known and loved by readers all other the world for his phenomenally successful Discworld series of novels, since being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2007, he also gained recognition from wider circles for his tireless campaigns for awareness of the disease, as well as his own right to die.
I was first read Pratchett’s Bromeliad trilogy at a young age, before later graduating to his Discworld novels when I reached my teenage years. Like many other readers, his novels provided an entertaining diversion from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The release of the new Terry Pratchett book and the eager wait for it to appear in the local library became almost as regular as Christmas (though with Pratchett writing two books a year, it was always better). His cast of outcasts and unconventional leads set out a brave and brilliant example to readers worldwide. He was not concerned with tales of great heroes, instead he wrote of young people and those who go unrecognised in day to day life. Neglected by the literary establishment (his only major award was the Carnegie Medal in 2001 for the marvellously titled The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents), Pratchett found acceptance in the hearts of people worldwide. He still remains on the UK’s bestselling authors of modern times.
Sir Terry Pratchett known not just for the bizarre worlds that his writings inhabit, but also for his campaigning. His two documentary series for the BBC highlighted to the issues of coping with disease and the right die, both of which were previously considered taboo. The dedication to which Pratchett applied himself to these issues until his sadly untimely death is commendable. From the meetings with politicians to the frequent interviews and articles discussing his condition, Pratchett was never afraid to address the issues in the public eye. Not only was he invaluable in raising awareness of Alzheimer’s, Sir Terry Pratchett was also a great patron of the natural world. His patronage of the Orangutan Foundation UK lead to it being adopted by Discworld fans as the nominated charity for their many conventions.
Pratchett said that ‘no one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world fade away’, and with over seventy popular books still in print, and translated into dozens of languages it seems his ripples will never fade away.