Monday, February 23, 2009

Sir Terry Pratchett

So, here's some good news I shd have shared earlier: Terry Pratchett, who's mainly known for writing the DiscWorld books, as of last week has now become Sir Terry. This makes him the first fantasy author to be knighted for writing fantasy. Wm Morris might have been knighted had he accepted the poet laureateship when Tennyson died (he refused, due to his contempt for Queen Victoria and all her minions). Edward Plunkett was already a baron (Lord Dunsany) before he began writing. Eddison had a good shot at eventually rising to a knighthood but retired early instead in order to devote his final years entirely to his work. Tolkien received a CBE (the honor one rank below a knighthood) and would probably have been knighted eventually, had he lived long enough.

Here's the link to Pratchett's post-ceremony interview (about ninety seconds), in which he not only wears a great hat but also points out how chuffed he is to receive this award for "services to literature" when he's known as a fantasy author. Given that he was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's a year or two ago, I'm glad they went ahead and gave him the award now, while he could still enjoy it.

As a longtime Pratchett fan ever since Richard West introduced me to THE COLOUR OF MAGIC and THE LIGHT FANTASTIC (the only two in the series available at the time), who's read all but five of Pratchett's books, this is happy news. Good for him.

So, who might be next? My money is on Philip Pullman, who has already been granted the CBE, though J. K. Rowling, who got the OBE, might get there first between her vast fortune, her charitable work, and Pullman's controversial stance on religion.

--John R.

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