Liz, Ben and writer Michelle Law go on a surprisingly dark ride in Pratchett’s skewed take on the “Pied Piper”, 2001’s Discworld for Younger Readers book, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents.
Everyone knows that the best way to get rid of a plague of rats is to pay the Piper. Even Maurice, and he’s a talking cat. So when he met a Clan of similarly smart talking rats, all he needed was a stupid-looking kid who could play, and he had the makings of the perfect con. But the rats (and the kid) are smart enough to decide that what they’re doing is unethical. Maurice convinces them to pull one last scam in a tiny Überwald town. But all is not well in Bad Blintz: the mayor’s daughter immediately sees there’s something odd about Maurice and the kid, and the town is convinced they already have a plague of rats – but the Clan can’t find a single one…
After two trilogies of children’s books set in our own world, and before he invented Tiffany Aching, Pratchett tried getting kids into the Discworld with a story of talking animals, plucky kids…and unspeakable evil. The Amazing Maurice explores some weighty ethics, punctures the safety of Enid Blyton, questions the lessons taught by the Brothers Grim, and goes to some very dark places, metaphorically and literally. All born out of a jokey footnote he wrote for Reaper Man a decade before!
Is this really a children’s book? Would you let your kids read it? Is it a terrible mistake, or is it maybe the greatest book Pratchett ever wrote? And most importantly: what’s your rat name? Use the hashtag #Pratchat33 on social media to join the conversation!
Guest Michelle Law is an award-winning playwright, screenwriter and actor based in Sydney. Her work includes the 2017 smash hit play Single Asian Female, the SBS TV series Homecoming Queens and contributed to numerous magazines and books. Michelle’s next play will be Miss Peony for Sydney’s Belvoir Theatre, and she has a story in the anthology After Australia from Affirm Press. You can find out more about Michelle at her web site, michelle-law.com, and follow her on Twitter at @ms_michellelaw.
Next month we complete our hat-trick of Pratchetts for younger readers by returning to the English town of Blackbury to catch up with Johnny Maxwell in 1993’s Johnny and the Dead! We’ll be joined by children’s author Oliver Phommovanh! Get your questions in via the hashtag #Pratchat34 by July 21st 2020.
You’ll find the full notes and errata for this episode on our web site.
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This week, it’s all about Producing Theatre, darling, and I’m so excited that we’re joined by the phenomenal Michelle Law.Michelle is a writer and actor based in Sydney. Her talents are amazingly diverse, writing for print, film, television, and theatre. So, just a few reasons why she’s fabulous – Michelle wrote the fantastic play Single Asian Female, which had sold out seasons across Australia; she’s the co-creator, co-writer and co-lead of the SBS series Homecoming Queens; and her writing has been anthologised in numerous books including Women of Letters, Best Australian Comedy Writing and Destroying the Joint. For her incredible work she’s received various awards, including two Australian Writer's Guild AWGIE awards, an Equity Ensemble Award, and the Queensland Premier's Young Publishers and Writers Award. To bring things full circle, several years back Michelle co-wrote the book Shit Asian Mothers Say alongside her brother Ben Law (who was on our show a few seasons ago) which was illustrated by Jacky Winter’s very own Oslo Davis. Which means I have only like 3 degrees of separation from this amazing woman. Currently, Michelle’s working on an original feature film and several new stage works. She is also a prolific speaker, regularly appearing on panels and at festivals, so we’re super lucky to have her here with us. Remember! We are now an ENHANCED podcast. That's right - If you listen to our podcast in Overcast or Pocket Casts, or Castro, you can get super special images, links, and chapter breaks in your player while you listen.Featured links from our discussion - Want to get these in your inbox every Friday? Sign up for our text-only tinyletter at tinyletter.com/jackywinterIntroSingle Asian Femalehttps://www.artscentremelbourne.com.au/event-archive/2019/theatre/single-asian-femaleHomecoming Queens – SBShttps://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/program/homecoming-queensShit Asian Mothers Sayhttps://books.google.com.au/books/about/Sh_t_Asian_Mothers_Say.html?id=vJoTAwAAQBAJ&redir_esc=yInterview with Michelle LawLotus program - playwriting Australiahttp://www.pwa.org.au/programs/developing-playwrights/lotus-2014-18/CAAP – Contemporary Asian Australian Performancehttps://www.caap.org.au/Scrivenerhttps://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener/overviewThe Show Must Go On - ABC Documentaryhttps://iview.abc.net.au/show/show-must-go-onMiss Peonyhttps://belvoir.com.au/productions/miss-peony/Open TabsThis Twin Peaks explainer is good—it’s also 4 1/2 hours long –Jeremyhttps://news.avclub.com/this-twin-peaks-explainer-is-good-its-also-4-5-hours-1839451484Dyson deal – Larahttps://www.ozbargain.com.au/node/495553Debbie Tucker Green – Michellehttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Debbie_tucker_greenMichelle’s SocialsMichelle’s websitehttp://michelle-law.com/Michelle’s Twitterhttps://twitter.com/ms_michellelaw?ref_src=twsrc%5Egoogle%7Ctwcamp%5Eserp%7Ctwgr%5EauthorMichelle’s Instagramhttps://www.instagram.com/msmichellelaw/?hl=enIf you like the show or these links or think we sound like nice people, please go and leave us a rating or review on iTunes. It helps other people find the show and boosts our downloads which in turn lets us know that what we're doing is worth doing more of!To subscribe, view show notes or previous episodes head on over to our podcast page at http://jackywinter.givesyouthe.biz/Special thanks to Jacky Winter (the band, with much better shirts than us) for the music.Listen to them over at Soundcloud.Everything else Jacky Winter (us) can be found at http://www.jackywinter.com/