2011 North American Convention 2017-11-02T19:57:26+00:00

2011NAConvention

THE PAST TWO YEARS
written for the 2011 North American Discworld Convention, in Madison, Wisconsin

Whoever is in charge of the program book has pointed out that traditionally I produce a report on the Discworld events that have occurred over the last two years, since the previous Convention. As in Discworld an event becomes a tradition as soon as it has occurred once, I must concur that my report for the North American Discworld Convention is now a tradition. In Britain, I have been reporting on events since the 1998 Convention Programme and those of an enquiring mind can find them on my website.[1] The first of the ‘traditional’ American reports covered the years 1976 to 2009 in about 6,500 words. This will be somewhat shorter, but for American readers who’ve read my other reports, there is inevitably some duplication between what’s here and what I wrote for the 2010 Birmingham and this year’s Australian convention programs. I’m pretty certain, however, that the vast majority of those reading this will not have seen them, and there’s a good deal here of interest that’s not yet appeared elsewhere.

I had hoped to be able to say that there’s positive news about the Bromeliad trilogy’s fate with Dreamworks, but all we hear is rumor. They actually paid for the rights, after renewing their option a number of times, in 2005, but their mood seems to have been more often cooler than warmer. First we heard that Frank Cottrell Boyce was writing the script, then at the end of December 2008 Danny Boyle, who had made no secret of the fact that he wanted to adapt the Truckers/ Bromeliad Trilogy, announced that due to executive indifference at Dreamworks, his plans were collapsing, and that neither he nor Boyce were any longer associated with the project. However, after Boyle was awarded eight Oscars for Slumdog Millionaire, Dreamworks had further thoughts and both he and Slumdog’s scriptwriter Simon Beaufoy were on board, according to news released at the end of March 2009.[2]

More recent information, in December 2010, would indicate that Craig Fernandez had written a script, entitled Everything Must Go, but since then, silence. All that’s been announced is that it’s on a shortlist of three titles, one of which will be released on 12 November 2012, but that bit of information dates from May 27, 2009.[3] Anyway, if they do not start layout animation by the end of next April, their rights expire, so I assume we’ll hear an announcement that production has started before that date.[4]

As to the Sony Raimi deal for Wee Free Men, Sony did not renew their option, as the decision not to proceed with it had, I gather, been taken quite quickly after the deal was signed. Pamela Pettler had written a first script, but Sam Raimi realised that the production Sony had in mind was a world away from what Terry wanted, and out of respect for Terry’s views decided not to proceed with it, though I’m told his own enthusiasm for the project remains undiminished.

2009 was a year in which Terry received two further honorary doctorates, from the University of Bradford on 16 July, and on 23 October from the University of Winchester. He now is weighed down by eight.

Following the Tempe Convention, Terry attended the first Irish Discworld Convention, held in the west of Ireland, at the Falls Hotel in Ennistymon, Co.Clare, at the beginning of November. Terry arrived the day after it started, having spent the previous day at Trinity College, Dublin University, where he explored the great 18th century Library and later attended a dinner there in honour of successful graduates of the University. Driving down to Ennistymon the following day, Terry, Rob and I encountered such rain that appeared to be hitting us from all directions at once, but we arrived at the Hotel in sunshine. At this time, Terry learned that he might be going to receive a BAFTA Scotland Award on Sunday night for his ‘Living with Alzheimer’s’ programme, though because of the ‘opposition’ – a BBC flagship program on the History of Scotland – nobody thought the Alzheimer one had a chance. Nevertheless, Rob Wilkins was advised to come, as the journey would have exhausted Terry, just to meet people in the industry, so he travelled to Glasgow and at the Awards ceremony was amazed to discover ‘Living with Alzheimer’s’ had won, so with the co-winners he received the Award on his as well as on Terry’s behalf,[5] returning exhausted to the Convention on Monday.

Ennistymon is situated close to the home of the fabled 19th century Irish wise woman, Biddy Early, who lived in Feakle, Co. Clare,[6] and who contributed not a little to Terry’s original conception of Granny Weatherwax, so thanks to the organisers of the Convention, Mary-Ellen Murphy, Nicola Murphy and Sheila O’Sullivan (soon to be their sister-in-law) and their family, Terry and I were able to stand (suitably kitted out in very necessary rubber boots) in the soggy ruins of Biddy’s cottage, prior to flying back to London from Shannon, a bottle of whiskey being later left in Terry’s name among its rotting rafters, along with mementos left by earlier visitors to the ruin. While Terry and I took the easy route home, Rob had to return the hire car back to Dublin Airport and fly home from there: an exhausting weekend for him.

During the summer of 2009, unmentioned in my previous US report as it took place after I’d written it, the Mob’s production of Going Postal was being filmed in extremely hot conditions in Hungary, and Terry and Rob travelled to Budapest to see the set, meet the actors,[7] and record his cameo appearance as a postman attempting to deliver a letter to the late unlamented Reacher Gilt. On 15 April 2010, Terry and Charles Dance[8] attended MipTV in Cannes to launch the mini-series with Mob, and it was premiered on Sky1 and Sky1HD on 30-31 May. It received considerable critical praise when first shown, and was quite justly nominated for BAFTA awards in Photography & Lighting: Fiction (Gavin Finney), Visual Effects (Simon Thomas, Reuben Barkataki and Zoltan Benyö), and Original Music (John Lunn). This followed last November’s successes at the Royal Television Society 2010 Craft and Design Awards in Photography – Drama (Gavin Finney) and Music – Original Score (John Lunn). John has also been also nominated for a 2011 Ivor Novello Award for the Best Television soundtrack, but the winner’s only being announced on 19 May – again, too late for my deadline.

Sadly, Going Postal has not yet been bought by any American TV network.. (Last Christmas Day in the UK, Sky 2 showed all three mini-series, a total of twelve hours viewing (including adverts) starting at 10.00am, and there have been numerous repeats in Britain. It’s been sold in other countries, including Australia (ABC), Germany, and the Czech Republic, But not the US. Fortunately, Acorn (who released the cartoon series of Wyrd Sisters and Soul Music on video-cassette and later DVD) have acquired the DVD license, its release date being 20 September.

In October 2009 Doubleday and HarperCollins published Unseen Academicals. This has the most complexly interwoven plot of all Terry’s novels (and the longest), and it was written at a time when he was also campaigning for increased funding for Alzheimer’s research and for assisted dying, so it was hardly surprising that delivery of the book to his two publishers was somewhat delayed. Terry would have liked to work on it further, but the publishing schedule could not flex further than it did.

Wincanton, twinned as it is with Ankh-Morpork (much to the irritation of English Heritage),[9] was the site of its launch, and the Studio Theatre Club a.k.a. Stephen Briggs and His Sporting Thespians, the Transworld Publishers Flying Five, Unseen University, Ankh-Morpork United?, the Dolly Sisters, Wincanton FC and Wincanton Urchins/Whippersnappers fielded five-a-side teams for the Championship, in which the senior Referee was one Stephen Briggs, who (whatever may have been written elsewhere) showed commendable partisanship to ensure that the right team won.

To commemorate the event, Bernard Pearson (known on this occasion as the Jolly Sailor Tobacco Company) issued a superb collection of football cards (illustrated by Paul Kidby) and an album to stick them in, Famous Footballers Of Ankh-Morpork. Apart from the standard edition, Transworld also produced for Waterstones a specially bound, numbered, slip-cased Limited Collector’s Edition, of 3,000 copies. (Earlier in the year there had been a small number – about 145 copies – of bound proofs.) At the same time Corgi issued a paperback edition of The Folklore of Discworld that contained ‘revealing additional material on Unseen Academicals’.

In the US, HarperCollins issued the novel in hardcover and audiobook, the latter being available on CD and in Playaway formats, and the following year when they published the paperback edition they also included the opening chapter of I Shall Wear Midnight.

Also in October the Salisbury Civic Society published a superb collection of photographs called Salisbury in Detail, for which Terry had written a Foreword. An order form can be found at http://www.salisburycivicsociety.org.uk/book/home.html and I’d recommend it, not only to completists collecting Terry’s writings, but also because of the superb pictures of this ancient English cathedral city.

An audiobook of Terry’s and Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens, read by Martin Jarvis, was finally released in the USA in November 2009, over three years after Stephen Briggs’s recording was issued by Isis in Britain.

Later that month, while working on the fourth Tiffany Aching novel, I Shall Wear Midnight, Terry received an invitation from the BBC to give the prestigious 2010 Richard Dimbleby Lecture at the beginning of February.[10] This is held annually in memory of the late great British broadcaster, and the invitee is asked to talk about something he or she feels passionate about, and has full discretion as to subject. Terry’s immediate reaction was to accept, indeed he felt it was an invitation that was almost impossible to refuse, almost a royal command, and he decided to take assisted dying as his theme, but then he became worried that he would run out of things to say in the time allotted – he was expected to speak for 35-45 minutes – and he was also worried about how to give the lecture in view of his reading difficulties caused by his Alzheimer’s variant. However these were problems Terry felt he could circumvent, and he decided to call it ‘Shaking Hands with Death’.

The novel was put on hold while he worked on his lecture, which was recorded at the headquarters of the Royal Society of Medicine, London, on 1st February, and broadcast on BBC1 later that evening. Initially it was planned that Terry would read his lecture and if he had problems, he would be replaced by Tony Robinson, but in the event Terry merely read his introductory paragraph, and then handed over to Tony, his ‘stunt Pratchett’ to read the text. The programme had been well publicised and it was watched by 2.1 million viewers, the highest figure for any Dimbleby Lecture since they were inaugurated in 1972.

During the Lecture Terry mentioned that people called him Mr Alzheimer’s and he was wondering what they’d be calling him the following day, but it was obvious that assisted dying is a subject whose time has come to be discussed, and there was far more support for his viewpoint than expected. No wonder The Oldie nominated him ‘Campaigner of the Year’.

Christmas 2009 was also interesting as the Royal National Theatre in London put on a production of Nation, adapted for the stage by Mark Ravenhill, with performances from November until March 2010. Terry liked it much better than he expected, and gave his reactions in an article in the Daily Telegraph.[11] The pre-production text was published by Corgi to coincide with the first preview performance, and now the text of the final version has been published by Heinemann in its New Windmills series. On 31 January 2010 it was broadcast throughout the world as one of the NT Live productions (though Oz had to wait a fortnight as satellite transmission costs were prohibitive, and HD videotape was flown to the Antipodes where copies were made and sent out to the various theatres).

The NT Live production was shown in about 300 theatres throughout the world, including twelve in New York, as well as screenings in Washington D.C., Hollywood, Minneapolis, Chicago, Boston, Daytona Beach, Amherst, St. Louis, Brooklyn, Newport, Berkeley and elsewhere, and in over 60 Cineplex theaters in Canada.[12] As it was filmed from numerous angles and with close-ups, those who viewed it on a big screen got far better views than the audiences at the various performances in the RNT. Unfortunately because of copyright restrictions, it will never be available on DVD.

In April 2010 the Alzheimer’s Society published My Name is not Dementia: People with Dementia discuss Quality of Life, for which Terry wrote a Foreword. He also guest edited the July 2010 issue of SFX, issued rather oddly in May. Perhaps their corporate motto should be ‘the future comes early at SFX’.

In June 2010 , Transworld announced the ‘Terry Pratchett Anywhere but Here, Anywhen But Now Prize’ for a work of fiction by an hitherto unpublished author, with the shortlist of six finalists being announced on 4 April, chosen from nearly 500 novels sent in by authors from Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth. The winner was announced on 31 May.[13]

In July Terry received his Coat of Arms from the historic College of Arms in London, which has been registering and designing such things for about 600 years. Terry’s Arms show numerous links with the city of Ankh-Morpork, an ankh, four discs and a river, with a crest showing a morpork with its wings opened behind two books, and a motto, not so different from that of Discworld’s Death – ‘Noli Timere Messorem’.[14] Later that month he attended the annual service for Knights Bachelor[15] in the crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral, and a very impressive service it was, with the knights and their guests in full morning dress. Sadly, as St Paul’s is an Ancient Monument, air conditioning does not exist in the cathedral, and for security reasons windows could not be opened…. It was warm.

As a knight, Sir Terry felt he should now have a sword, not one bought off the shelf, or out of a catalogue, but one that he had made, as far as possible, himself. With Jake Keen he gathered about 175 lbs of iron ore from near his home and he and Jake built the forge and smelted it, handing the resulting ‘bloom’ of iron, together with a piece of the Sikhote Alin meteorite that I’d got for him to give it that something extra, to master swordsmith Hector Cole, and Terry helped him refine it and beat it into shape. The sword, as yet scabbardless, and a thing of beauty, is called ‘Thunderbolt Iron’. (In September 2010 the press finally caught up with the story, after a short piece in the Sunday Times started the ball rolling, and the Australian Daily Telegraph proclaimed it to be the most read story of the week. Internet bloggers throughout the world considered this most definitely the ultimate in cool.)

The Discworld Convention took place in late August at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole as in 2008, one of the highlights of which was the production of ‘The Rocky Horror Discworld Show’, in which Discworld and Transylvania impinged on each other, This had been specially, and uniquely, agreed to by Richard O’Brien, on the condition that no recording was made (though many photos exist).

One day during that weekend I was approached in the lobby by three people from Walt Disney Studios, who we learned later had been in touch with Terry’s American agent, Ralph Vicinanza about acquiring film rights in Mort, but as he’d evidently not been aware of quite how enthusiastic they were, he had not bothered to pass on this information to Terry. So, here were Karen Tenkhoff, a Disney Development Partner, accompanied by John Musker and Ron Clements, two of Disney’s most respected directors, asking to meet Terry. As he was seated mere feet away, an introduction was easily made. They wanted to animate Mort, and were very surprised that we knew nothing of their interest. All I’d heard up to then was that three fans from Disney had expressed an interest in coming to the Convention, but I had absolutely no idea how senior in the organisation they’d turn out to be.

We tried to keep all this under wraps until the contracts had been sorted out, but to both parties’ frustration an unforeseen obstruction got in the way and after much discussion, in March this year Disney felt the project had continued long enough and deadlines were given that could not be kept, so the deal was officially declared dead in the water – though I hope there might be a resurrection one day. A couple of months after that initial August meeting the secret was leaked in LA, with all sorts of inaccuracies, so I feel that at least this much can be told without causing problems.

I Shall Wear Midnight, the fourth Tiffany Aching novel, although finished somewhat behind schedule as a result of Terry’s work on the Dimbleby Lecture, was published in September 2010 – on the 2nd in the UK and 29th in the US. To mark it, there was a special signing at midnight in Waterstones’ bookshop in Piccadilly, with Terry wearing a tartan nightcap and nightshirt. This was overshadowed for us by the death in his sleep of Terry’s long-standing American agent, Ralph Vicinanza, on the 25th September at the horribly early age of 60. Terry, Rob and I flew over to New York for his funeral.

At the end of October Terry was a Life Achievement Award winner at the 2010 World Fantasy Convention, held in Columbus OH, and in the following month, in Britain, he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Galaxy (choc bar sponsors, nothing extra-terrestrial) National Book Awards.

Later in November it was announced that he had been appointed an adjunct Professor at the University of Dublin, and he has since been giving lectures and master-classes there.[16] On his first professorial visit he took time off to visit the great 5,000 year-old megalithic passage tomb at Newgrange, Co. Meath, overlooking the River Boyne. There was a cold, wet wind blowing, but nothing could lessen the tremendous impact that the tomb had on Terry and the other visitors: once a year at the winter solstice the rising sun’s rays can shine directly along the tunnel and illumine the floor of the central chamber, just after dawn. Terry was definitely Impressed.

In December Doubleday issued an exclusive hardcover edition of 3,000 copies of I Shall Wear Midnight featuring an adapted jacket in which minute photos of 3,000 fans (and some portraits of Terry) were added as a background to the cover design. The names of those on the cover were printed on its inner side.

During this time the Royal Mail had been preparing a series of stamps commemorating ‘Magical Realms’ with two stamps featuring Discworld characters, Rincewind and Nanny Ogg, and two each from the Harry Potter and Narnia novels, and two from Arthurian myth. Although we’d been having discussions about the two Discworld related designs and the title of the issue for over a year, and the designs had been seen by Queen Elizabeth and received the Royal Assent in October, there was an image and information embargo until thirteen weeks before their March 8, 2011 release.

On 8 January Terry was rung at home to be told he had won YALSA’s (the Young Adults Library Services Association, a division of the American Library Association) Margaret A. Edwards Award (sponsored by the School Library Journal) in honour of his ‘significant and lasting contribution to writing for teens’. (A couple of years ago, he had won one of YALSA’s 2009 Thomas Printz Awards for Nation.) He will be presented with the Award at a special luncheon on 25th June at the ALA’s annual conference, this year held in New Orleans.

Terry has finished the next Vimes novel, Snuff, scheduled for an October publication, and has also signed up for a young adult book that may possibly be set in London, in the alternate world of Nation, but as I write this, Terry is on holiday in Australia and I do not know what plans he has except to collaborate with Stephen Baxter on an SF book. In 1986 Terry had an idea for an SF series, which he called The Long Earth, and wrote a couple of short stories to settle himself him into the relevant universe, and started writing the first novel of that intended series, but we then discussed the way his writing should go, and decided that as Discworld appeared to be successful – Terry had just finished writing Equal Rites – there appeared to be sufficient mileage in that series for two or three more books at least. So he started work on Mort, and the Long Earth Series was put aside, though it never completely vanished below the horizon, as Terry had never allowed me to offer the short stories to anyone for publication, quite apart from the fact he needed to revise them, being only first drafts.

Given my enthusiasm that they should appear in his shorter writings collection, Terry reread them and decided to collaborate with his friend Stephen Baxter on writing them in novel form, so a two book contract has been signed up by them with Transworld, and is under negotiation with HarperCollins for the US as I write this.

A collection of shorter writings has also been signed up, but no decision has yet been made as to what will appear in it, or when it will be published, although it is certainly going to be larger than Once More, with Footnotes.

Over the past months Terry has been working with the team that produced the documentary ‘Living with Alzheimers’ on another, called ‘Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die’ that carries on from the theme of his Richard Dimbleby Lecture. The BBC, it would appear, leaked extracts from it to the press in April and predictably there has been a furore before anyone pontificating about it has actually seen the complete program. I believe it is being televised in early June, so by the time you read this, there will doubtless have been a lot of press notice.

Terry has been interviewed in Australia a number of times in the press and on TV in the last past weeks, and the subject has been brought up in these: all those I’ve seen have been conducted by interested and balanced interviewers. I hope the same courteous treatment will be afforded him in the UK, but a number of groups in his own country are certain to complain loudly.

Unseen Academicals[17] has just been signed up by the Mob Film Company as the next mini-series to be produced for Sky, though it will only be three quarters the length of the earlier ones. In the meantime, Rod Brown one of Mob’s directors – he who had come to the 2004 Wincanton Hogswatch event to meet Terry and pitch for the Hogfather TV rights and passed the test – decided to seek pastures new, and after joining a company in Los Angeles, was later appointed managing director of the newly-created Prime Focus Productions where, as the result of discussions with Terry and Neil Gaiman in Cardiff, where Neil was writing an episode of Doctor Who, both authors of Good Omens agreed with his proposal to make a four one-hour episode TV adaptation, initially to be funded by STV – Scottish Television – and to be scripted by Terry Jones of Monty Python (and much more) and Gavin Scott of Small Soldiers fame.

From March 2010 till November 2011 the British National Portrait Gallery has been holding an exhibition at Montacute House in Somerset of anonymous sitters among their collection – usually of people who could not possibly be the person they were originally said to be. The Gallery asked various authors to write a brief biography of a particular character which was placed next the portrait. The sitter Terry was asked to write a biography of was a dignified early 17th century gentleman whom Terry decided was Joshua Easement, an adventurer, who had no sense of direction or of smell. On his erratic travels he picked up a superb black and white animal to give to Queen Elizabeth I – a skunk, whose odour only he could not smell. He ended his career at the Royal Court as Captain of the Gongfermours, in charge of the latrines, and departed this life in explosive circumstances. This biography was published in the NPG’s Imagined Lives: Mystery Portraits from the National Portrait Gallery, c.1520-1640.

I should not omit mention of further events in Wincanton: with the arrival of two bright and skilled young individuals, Reb Voyce and Ian Mitchell, the Cunning Artificer partnership of Bernard and Isobel Pearson has doubled in size and since 1st March has formally become The Discworld Emporium. They have recently been working hard on the artwork for a Discworld board game by Treefrog Games, called Ankh-Morpork: A Discworld Board Game, to be released this Fall, and have ideas for two more Discworld projects, both of which I expect to appeal to HarperCollins here in the States, as well as to Transworld/Doubleday in the UK.

At the same time Terry has licensed Backspindle Games to produce a board game which its creators had been working on for well over a decade, Guards! Guards!, illustrated by Stephen Player. The original idea was shown to Terry in 1995 and at the time he said that it was one of the best proposals he’d so far seen for a board game. Its creators Leonard Boyd and David Brashaw kept refining it over the years, and in 2008 came back to show Terry how it had evolved. It was given to Discworld fan play-testers who approved of it (as they had of Treefrog’s offering) and they got a license. With speedy production and Stephen’s rapid creative abilities they hope to show it off at NADWCon.

Stephen Briggs, Roundworld’s own CMOT Dibbler, has found life as a senior government civil servant, a thespian and the author/updater of the Discworld Companion, somewhat too busy, so an expanded range of his merchandise is now available from from Sandra and daughter Jo Kidby at PJSM Prints (www.pjsmprints.com).

Terry’s first UK publisher (after me), Victor Gollancz, has continued issuing Discworld wall calendars: the 2011 one containing pictures by Josh Kirby not used in previous years, while the 2012 edition contains almost all original artwork by Paul Kidby, (which neatly sidesteps the problems of having to negotiate with a number of different artists, some of whom it would appear had only a superficial knowledge of the story they were illustrating). Recently, the French paperback publisher Pocket commissioned a talented Discworld fan, Marc Simonetti, to paint new designs for their entire Discworld series, and thirteen of his pictures will be used for the 2013 Calendar.

Jason Anthony and Annie Mac and their teams continue to keep us informed and entertained with Discworld Monthly and Wossname: Discworld fandom owes them debts of gratitude. Sadly Joe Schaumberger, who founded Wossname as an outpost of the Klatchian Foreign Legion, died in March. RIP.

At the beginning of April, before Lyn flew in for a few weeks’ holiday (their first since 2001), Terry attended Nullus Anxietas III – the Australian Convention,. I’ve heard little about it except that the charity auction held there raised an extremely impressive A$15,922, one of its highlights proving to be the sale of the pyjamas Rob wore when reading extracts from Snuff during ‘Bed-Time Stories’ on Friday night there, which fetched a remarkable – and puzzling – A$1,150.

After the Convention and before speaking at Sydney’s Opera House, Terry flew to New Zealand for a quick visit, and on a day off he and Rob explored Hobbiton, which is once again a working movie set. Forestalling Rob’s photographic activities, they insisted on his agreeing to a US$5 million indemnity against any of his pictures being published.

Other news hot off the press is that Snowgum Films’ kickstart initiative to raise A$45,000 to complete ‘Troll Bridge’ reached its target figure 57 days ahead of the deadline. Wonderful generosity on the part of the donors.[18]

Terry is now read in thirty-eight languages, with sales now well in excess of 70 million books worldwide (but who’s counting?): put side by side, they’d stretch at least from London to Rome – over a thousand miles. That’s a lot of paper!

[1] http://www.colinsmythe.co.uk/terrypages/tpindex.htm

[2] See http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2009/mar/27/simon-beaufoy-terry-pratchett-truckers/print and http://hollywood-animated-films.suite101.com/article.cfm/boyle_beaufoy_to_animate_truckers

[3] http://www.slashfilm.com/dreamworks-animation-announces-2009-2012-releases/

[4] After this article had gone to press, we had a meeting with Jeffrey Katzenberg, and the new director Anand Tucker. We learned that John Orloff is writing the script. Things would appear to be moving.

[5] It won in the Factual Series category. The named individuals were Terry and Rob, and for IWC Media, who produced the documentary, Hamish Barbour, Rachel Bell, Craig Hunter, Charlie Russell and Tasneem Maqsood.

[6] For further information about Biddy Early, see the chapters about her in Lady Gregory’s Visions & Beliefs in the West of Ireland, and D.A.MacManus’ The Middle Kingdom, True Irish Faerie Tales, both books published by Colin Smythe Ltd.

[7] Including Richard Coyle (Moist von Lipwig), David Suchet (Reacher Gilt), Charles Dance (the Patrician), Claire Foy (Adora Belle Dearheart), Marnix Van Den Broeke (Mr Pump), Steve Pemberton (Drumknott), Andrew Sachs (Postman Tolliver Groat), Tamsin Greig (Miss Cripslock), Ingrid Bolso Berdal (Sgt Angua), Adrian Schiller (Mr Gryle), Ian Bonar (Stanley Howler), Madhav Sharma (Horsefry), and Timothy West (Arch-Chancellor Ridcully).

[8] Interviews with Charles Dance, filmed in Cannes, could be found at http://wn.com/Lord_Vetinari, [ now out of date. 8/8/2015] together with one given by Steve Pemberton

[9] Officially the Historic Building and Monuments Commission of England, a government body.

[10] Recent lecturers have included HRH Prince Charles (2009), General Sir Mike Jackson (2006), Dr Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury (2002), and ex-President Bill Clinton (2001).

[11] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/6824996/Terry-Pratchett-interview-look-what-theyve-done-to-my-book.html

[12] A list of the Canadian theatres it was shown at can be found at http://mediafiles.cineplex.com/_att/0b64fddc-3aea-4f21-8fcb-1ea5d048c89d/01%2013%2010%20NT_Live_NATION%20FINAL.pdf but I’ve not been able to find an equivalent listing for the US.

[13] For the rules, see http://www.terrypratchett.co.uk/news/termsandconditions.html. And the shortlist, in alphabetical order: Postponing Armageddon by Adele Abbott, The Platinum Ticket by Dave Beynon, Half Sick of Shadows by David Logan, Apocalypse Cow by Michael Logan, Lun by Andrew Saloman, and The Coven at Callington by Shereen Vedam. It was awarded jointly to David Logan and Michael Logan – and no, they’re not related.

[14] The actual blazon reads ‘Sable an Ankh between four Roundels in Saltire each issuing Argent, and for the Crest upon a Helm with a Wreath Argent and Sable, On Water Barry wavy Sable Argent and Sable an Owl affronty wings displayed and inverted Or supporting thereby two Closed Books erect Gules Mantled Sable doubled Argent’.

[15] In the UK, apart from the prefix ‘Sir’ before the knight’s name, the letters Kt can be used (although not very often) after his name. One cannot use KB as might appear logical, as that would indicate that he was a Knight of the Order of the Bath, or KT (with the capital T) as that would mean he was a Knight of the Order of the Thistle. So Terry would normally be Sir Terry Pratchett OBE when addressing an envelope, for example, to indicate that he is also an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, an award he received in 1998. Orders of knighthood are a complicated lot, many going back to the Middle Ages – though the Order of the British Empire is very recent, only being created in 1917.

[16] http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/weekend/2010/1106/1224282772070.html

[17] Originally it was going to have been Sourcery, but there was a change of plan, and unfortunately Mob are not being allowed any more time than planned for Sourcery although it is only half UA’s length. (On 30 March Mob announced that it had sold a 51% share in the company to the German firm Red Arrow Entertainment Group, an offshoot of ProSiebenSat1.)

[18] http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/snowgumfilms/terry-pratchetts-troll-bridge/posts/76540?ref=email&play=1&show_token=cf066580b3cf8775

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