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AS Byatt tells Edinburgh audience why she loves reading Terry Pratchett
Booker prize-winning novelist explains why she is such a profound pessimist – and why reading novels gives her hope

He is the doyen of fantasy and one of the most widely read authors in Britain. She is the Booker prize-winning queen of the literary novel, famous for her uncompromising erudition.

But, speaking at the Edinburgh international book festivalAS Byatt has declared Terry Pratchett her hero, for having "caused more people to read books than anyone else – because he tells them something they want to know, that they can laugh at, and because he writes really good English".

Indeed, the author of Possession and, most recently, the Man Booker-shortlisted The Children's Book, suggested that a free distribution of Pratchett to all 12-year-olds would "have a very good effect" on getting young people to read.

Byatt was speaking at the launch of her new book, a retelling of the Norse Ragnarok myth, in which, after a succession of natural disasters, the world ends: a story she has found compelling since her childhood during the war.

Byatt said that, while she had not wished to present an allegory or a polemic, the story was impelled by a profound sense of gloom about the environment and indeed about all human endeavours.

"I didn't want to write a parable," she said. "I didn't want to say: 'We are like these stupid Norse gods and we are destroying the world.' I wanted to hurt people's imaginations."

For the full article

The Guardian