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Today, like millions of others, I was saddened to read on Twitter that Sir Terry Pratchett had died, far too soon. I cried as I read the tweets. I am sure a lot of us did. Then I reflected on what Sir Terry had given me.

1983 was a truly horrible year for me. It was also the year Colour of Magic was published and I discovered a world that was how it should be, and not like my then world was. It was an escape, but in a way also a validation. I felt I had found somewhere I belonged, and understood.

Later, and as I recounted in an earlier post, I was going through one of those crises we all do during our Library School training, and finding myself completely blocked trying to write about childrens’ libraries, I did a search of the web and found Terry Pratchett’s page and contact details. That site doesn’t exist any more, it was, as I said, a long time ago and contacting people was more easy. Anyway, I contacted the email address and asked “Was the Unseen University librarian ever a childrens’ librarian?”. That question seemed to break the block and I forgot all about the email. Some days later, I got a reply. Apparently the UU librarian did not like children as they got chewing gum in his coat. It was signed Terry Pratchett. I printed out the email and kept it for many years. It was a great response to a student who said they were struggling and asked a pretty stupid question. It indicated the same humanity and engagement in the world that I had found in his books. As I said earlier today, some people just touch us so personally through their writing it feels like we know them. Which makes losing their voice all the harder.

I have tried to live my life as a Granny Weatherwax, but I fear the Nanny Ogg always creeps in, so for giving me those shining examples to follow, and for all the thought provoking, laughter inducing, life affirming joy his writing has brought me, I shall be raising my glass, and a rousing chorus of A Hedgehog Can Never Be …. to Sir Terry.

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