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Sir Terry Pratchett at the Cheltenham Literature Festival

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: October 08, 2012

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Sir Terry Pratchett, the bestselling fantasy-fiction writer, has announced he will soon be stepping away from his extensive and widely-adored Discworld series to concentrate on writing his autobiography.

The author, who has sold a jaw-dropping 80 million books, was diagnosed with early on-set Alzheimer’s in 2007, and made his appearance on day three of Festival 2012 to talk about Dodger, his latest, Dickens-inspired book for young adults.

The writer is showing few signs, if any, of slowing down, however.

His talk with PA and fellow writer, Rob Wilkins, spanned everything from Narrativia, his just-launched, multimedia production company, and the 13-part prime-time TV series that is in-the-pipeline, to the first draft of his next Discworld book – along with a colourful anecdote or few from his travels round Australia and America.

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In Dodger, Pratchett reimagines the story of the Artful Dodger, the memorable scamp from Charles Dickens’ novel, Oliver Twist, a tale of the plight of the urban poor in Victorian London, and coincides with the 200-year anniversary of the author’s birth.

Speaking on the inspiration behind Dodger, Pratchett said that as a boy he had been struck by Dickens’, and the social reformer Henry Mayhew’s, depictions of poverty in the reign of Queen Victoria.

“Dickens used fiction to spell out the plight of the underclass in early Victorian London, while Mayhew used hard facts. He was a man of a statistics …you can’t believe how bad things were for the poor in London …that stayed with me for a long time.”

Review by Daisy Blacklock

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