In episode 25, Elizabeth, Ben and Noongar writer and poet Claire G. Coleman go back to the early days of the Discworld to Granny Weatherwax’s debut in Terry Pratchett’s 1986 novel, Equal Rites.
Drum Billet, wizard, travels to the village of Bad Ass high in the Ramtop mountains, where at the moment of his death he hands over his wizard’s staff to the newborn eighth son of an eighth son. But Eskarina Smith isn’t the eighth son of anyone, and it falls to the witch Granny Weatherwax to watch over her. As Esk comes into her powers, Granny realises she needs training in the ways of wizardry lest she pose a danger to everyone around her. So the pair set off to distant Ankh-Morpork on a quest to enrol Esk as the first ever female student of Unseen University…
Equal Rites is a book of contradictions: it doesn’t feel quite like the Discworld, but it’s vital and beautifully written. It’s not full of jokes or footnotes, but is consistently funny. And even after more than thirty years, it feels entirely relevant. Do you recognise Esk’s struggle? Did Granny feel like Granny yet? And why do think it took so long for Pratchett to revisit some of these characters? Use the hashtag #Pratchat25 on social media to join the conversation and tell us your thoughts!
Guest Claire G. Coleman’s novels are the multi-award winning Terra Nullius, and her new work The Old Lie. She also writes short fiction, poetry and non-fiction and has been published in numerous publications. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram as @clairegcoleman, or visit her web site, clairegcoleman.com, for more info.
Next month we’re joined by the Director of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas, Michael Williams, as we celebrate Hogswatch by discussing – what else? – Hogfather! We’re recording on November 13, so get your questions in by then via social media using the hashtag #Pratchat26.
You’ll find the full notes and errata for this episode on our web site.
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