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Mort by Terry Pratchett: Folio Society edition features illustrations by Omar Rayyan

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Mort by Terry Pratchett: Folio Society edition features illustrations by Omar Rayyan

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Terry Pratchett’s daughter Rhianna, to whom Mort is dedicated, wrote a beautiful piece remembering him where she described the character of Death perfectly.

“Death was a towering, cloaked and scythe-wielding skeleton who had a penchant for curries, a love of cats and TALKED LIKE THIS,” she said.

Reading the Discworld novels – revisiting them time and time again – is like going to see an old friend where you find that, no matter how much time has passed, you feel so comfortable together that it’s as though you met up the day before. 

And Pratchett turned Death into a friend. You quickly came to love the dry wit, the withering sarcasm and a mild befuddlement at the actions of humans, almost with the tone of someone exasperated that they have to clean up this mess again.

The Folio Society have printed a stunning edition of Pratchett’s four novel with illustrations by Omar Rayyan, who, as well as his paintings and work for publishers, created the look for the film adaptation of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – read our Q&A with him below:

Had you read Mort before you were asked to illustrate the Folio edition, and any other of Pratchett’s work?

Mort was the second Pratchett I read, the first being Nightwatch, and greatly enjoyed both, the world of the guards gave a wonderful picture of the workings of Ankh-Morpork and then to see it all from the eye sockets of Death just rounded it out all the more.

In all his books, but I think particularly in this one, everyone is described with fantastic detail – I’m guessing this was quite useful when you were visualising each character?

It is quite useful to have detailed descriptions as an illustrator, but that also gives readers more chance of catching you out, if you miss a small line of detail buried in the text.

mort2.jpgIllustration by Omar Rayyan from The Folio Society edition of Mort ((C) OmarRayyan2016)

Also it could at times prove challenging when the verbal text is ‘painting’ an image that visually might be more powerfully conveyed by taking some artistic license.

The trick is to present characters that match the text but are also flexible enough to fit the readers’ expectations and not so stiff as to miss the emotional demands of the story.

Do you have a favourite chapter or quote from the book?

mort3.jpgIllustration by Omar Rayyan from The Folio Society edition of Mort ((C) OmarRayyan2016)

I can’t settle on one chapter or quote as favourite – it changed daily as I was working on the project. The whole premise of Mort is fantastic and fun to consider right from the start. The day-to-day aspects of being human (ironically nicely illustrated by DEATH) being presented and explored in such a fun and colourful way made it a joy to work on.

What are your hopes in terms of a reaction from readers?

Of course I hope readers like my contribution, it was impossible to come to an already very beloved and well-known world at such a late date and not fear that one might step on long established concepts and ideas of how it all looks.

I wish Terry was still with us, to get his feedback and direction, and hopefully, blessing.

The Folio Society’s illustrated edition of Mort by Terry Pratchett is out now

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