If the late and lamented author Terry Pratchett will be remembered for one thing in academic circles, it may be his take on higher education, as practiced at the “Unseen University.” Okay, having an orangutan as a librarian might just be a little strange, but this is Pratchett.Now Trinity College Dublin (TCD) is to get … no, not a book-guarding primate, but a scholarship, to be shared with the University of South Australia (UniSA). Pratchett’s Discworld Foundation charity has made this bequest according to the wishes of the author, who received an honorary doctorate from TCD (while he was still alive, one hastens to add in this special case involving a master of twisted fantasy).
|Terry Pratchett Rincewind (Wizards of Unseen University) Books |
The Colour of Magic
Every two years, a student will be the recipient of a scholarship (funded “forever”, according to David Lloyd of UniSA) that will enable him or her to spend a year at TCD and a year at UniSA. During this time, the student will be expected to complete cultural research relevant to Terry Pratchett’s work.
So, an Unseen University scholarship? Not really – academics from the two universities have pointed out that “Pratchett’s work” encompasses a lot more. First of all he spanned the genres of fantasy, science fiction, and satire. Then he was a passionate campaigner for Alzheimer’s research and (resulting from this) assisted dying. And he always had a strong interest in natural history.
A fitting tribute to a great man … who always believed that people were not truly dead “until the ripples they cause in the world die away.” This academic ripple surely looks to be perpetual, as far as one can see today.
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