Author, editor and journalist Stephanie Convery returns to Pratchat as newspapers and conspiracy hit Ankh-Morpork in the same week! It’s The Truth, Terry Pratchett’s 25th Discworld novel, first published in 2000.
William de Worde has made a reasonable living writing a monthly newsletter for notables, keeping them informed of goings on in Ankh-Morpork. But when he’s nearly run over by Gunilla Goodmountain’s new movable type printing press, he begins producing a different kind of “paper of news” – one that anyone can buy on the street, full of the important stories of the day. Before long “the Ankh-Morpork Times” – produced with the help of writer Sacharissa Cripslock and vampire iconographer Otto von Chriek – is a hit…and has ruffled a few feathers. But William has a powerful drive to spread the news, only intensified when Lord Vetinari is found unconscious next to a horse loaded with money after supposedly having stabbed his clerk. The Patrician being arrested for attempted murder and embezzlement is big news, of course – but is it the truth?
Pratchett cut his teeth as a writer as a journalist, and had for many years used his work as inspiration – but nowhere as directly as in the 25th Discworld novel, which introduces the Disc’s first newspaper journalists, William de Worde. Apart from William, the novel also brings us the Times’ staff, most notably Sacharissa and Otto, who pop up in many future books, and the unforgettable “New Firm” of Mr Pin and Mr Tulip – plus the triumphant return of Gaspode! The books also draws on sources as broad as Shakespeare, the history of printing, Watergate and Pulp Fiction for inspiration, references and jokes, while still packing in themes as serious as public interest, prejudice, class privilege and…well…the truth.
Is it weird seeing Vimes as a secondary character through the eyes of a journalist? Do you wish the staff of the Times had more books of their own? Where do you come down on the debate over public interest vs “of interest to the public”? Share your truth with us via the hashtag #Pratchat42 on social media, and join the conversation!
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Guest Stephanie Convery is a freelance writer and, at the time of this episode, Deputy Culture Editor for Guardian Australia. (She’s since become their dedicated inequality reporter.) Since she was last a guest on this podcast (discussing Mort way back in #Pratchat2, “Murdering a Curry”), Stephanie has published her first book: After the Count, a critically acclaimed “history and interrogation of boxing as art and a cultural examination of sport”, framed around the death of boxer Davey Browne following a knockout in the ring. You can check out Stephanie’s work at Guardian Australia, or follow her on Twitter at @gingerandhoney.
We’d love to know if you want us to do an episode about The Watch television series, and whether you’d support Ben making a similar podcast about the works of Douglas Adams.
Next time we’re jumping ahead into the future as we continue to spread out Tiffany Aching’s story: yes, it’s time to grab A Hat Full of Sky! We’ll be joined by writer and poet, Sally Evans. Send us your questions using the hashtag #Pratchat43, or get them in via email: email@example.com
You’ll find the full notes and errata for this episode on our web site.
This month (April 2021) you can also help raise money for Meals on Wheels in the US as part of the #Reviews4Good initiative! We’ll respond and double the donation, too. Just review the show (or an episode) on Podchaser.