The true flat earther

We are talking about flat earthing, yes, and about fantasy, but in this literary case, specifically about Discomundo, that world in the form of a flat, round disk supported by four elephants that at the same time rest on a tortoise that travels through space and to which it gave Life of the writer Terry Pratchett (1948-2015).

And it is that fifty years have passed since Pratchett published his first book, The carpet people and to celebrate it, the 42nd festival, which opened yesterday at Fabra i Coats, dedicates an exhibition to him in which several illustrators (Marina Vidal, Laia Baldevey, Mado Peña, Sara Soler, Elsa Velasco and Diana Franco) reinterpret thirteen characters from his books . The exhibition, which is completed with a large map with all the books, has been curated by Carla Campos Moreno and Maritxu Olazábal, who yesterday participated in the festival in a talk with the editor of Mai Més Sergio Pérez and Marina Vidal, who is illustrating the covers from this collection.

Fifty years have passed since Pratchett published his first book, ‘The Carpet People’

And it is that if in Castilian it is nothing new to publish Pratchett -the current editions are by DeBolsillo-, in Catalan the impulse of Mai Més is having a lot of resonance, which has already published six of the 41 titles of Discomundo, to which just added collaboration with Neil Gaiman bons averanys –which Amazon Video turned into a series, with a second season expected next year– and they announce for next month the biography that Rob Wilkins has written (Terry Pratchett: A Life with Footnotes), in Catalan and Spanish. In fact, they wanted to have already published it, almost simultaneously with the original, which came out this September, but they haven’t arrived on time.

Pérez recalled yesterday that at the beginning of the publishing house, the translator Ernest Riera sent him a list of the books that he considered essential to have translated into Catalan, a document of more than three pages with a tagline: all those titles could be deleted if the Pratchett’s books.

Sergio Pérez, Marina Vidal, Maritxu Olazábal and Carla Campos Moreno

Mane Espinosa

And it is that Pratchett was a revulsive of the genre, not only because until the emergence of Harry Potter he was the best-selling English writer, with more than 85 million copies in 38 languages, but because he contributed a great sense of humor and what began as a a kind of parody of fantasy books was adding complexity and subdividing into several series, especially that of the Witches, the Guard, the Wizards or Death, a character as thoughtful as he was funny: “These you see there are mortal –said Death . They will be in the world only a few years and they will spend them complicating their lives. It is fascinating. Help yourself to a cucumber”, he says in an excerpt that can be read at the exhibition.

Marina Vidal explained that in the illustrations she has done for the exhibition she has always looked for a gag that provides something more than the description of the characters, such as the orangutan in the image below, which is actually the librarian of the Invisible University , which an accident transformed “into a highly evolved form and perfectly adapted to tame magical books”, to whom Vidal has put glasses and a ponytail on his head so that his hair does not bother him when he reads…

Librarian of Terry Pratchett for the expo of the festival 42 (Marina Vidal)

The Librarian by Terry Pratchett for the 42 festival exhibition

Marina Vidal

And a curiosity: as not all the titles that are mentioned
–not even the fragments that are cited– had yet been translated into Catalan, Riera has made the effort to get ahead to have a –small– part of the work ready.

The flight to the fantasy of the castaway Pep Albanell

A tribute

The opening conversation of the festival was dedicated to paying homage to the career of Pep Albanell –split in Joles Sennell or in a part of Ofèlia Dracs, among others–, who talked with Muntsa Mimó about his books and the value of fantasy. Mimó explained that reading his books the figure of the castaway becomes important, and Albanell agreed, although he added that first he felt it in a positive sense, because he is the one who survives and overcomes the environment with dignity and perhaps even placidity, but now he feels it “more defenseless, faced with a reality that he does not dominate and that is winning over him”, which is how he sees humanity today. Pessimistic by nature, yes. At the same time, he also defended fantasy as “a way of enduring the unbearable, of running away, but knowing that you have to come back, that it gives you a space to rest.”


Muntsa Mimó and Pep Albanell during their conversation

Mane Espinosa

Catalan version, here

The true flat earther