Last Thursday, I had the privilege to meet Sir Terry Pratchett when he came to give his annual talk to the new group of Masters students in the Creative Writing program at Trinity College Dublin.
I have to say, it was such a delight to meet a man who is not only one of the best known, well respected and loved fantasy authors, but a man who is genuinely a pleasure to hear speak. He has written over 35 books (I'm actually underrating the amount here) and most have been in his acclaimed Discworld series. Admittedly I have not read a single one of his works - slap on the wrist for that - but that in no way dampened my excitement at getting the chance to listen to him speak.
We are a small group, in total there are only 16 of us in my program, studying in the Oscar Wilde Center at Trinity - Oscar's childhood home so we're baked in literary history here - and were crammed together in a small room to ask questions and sit around Terry to listen to his advice and experiences.
It was fascinating to hear his story of success, having left school at 17, working on a newspaper until he decided to sit down and pen his first book. He even gave advice on where to get a fabulous hat similar to his and recommended the Victorian riding habit for us women, apparently it's the sexiest piece of clothing we can wear! Conversations devolved into talks of Victorian contraception and the fact that the queen actually DID enjoy sex - just not the babies that tended to come along with afterward.
The afternoon was like spending time with a favourite grandfather, all gathered around ready to soak up his stories. He started formulating the premise to a book on the fly, trying to demonstrate how easy it is to come up with an kernel of an idea once we've been writing as long as he has. It starts with a snowflake and we build and build on that snowflake until we have a snowman - great analogy.
My favourite bit I think, was when he described the lack of proper teaching of history in the UK stating that children basically learn that "The British were very nasty, but not as bad as the Germans who were really very nasty indeed."
He will be returning to visit us again next term and I vow to have at least one of his books read!
Hats off to you Terry, it was a pleasure.