The Lit Review|61| Period Pratchett, Bowie’s Favourite Books & More

Periodically Pratchett

In an exciting turn of events, over 45,000 people have so far signed a petition to name one of the four recently discovered elements due to be added to the Periodic Table as “Octarine”. This petition is seen as a way to pay tribute to Terry Pratchett, the beloved fantasy writer of the Discworld novels who died less than a year ago.

In the Discworld universe, Octarine is the “eight colour”, and can only be seen by people who are highly sensitive to magic. The suggested abbreviation for the element is Oc, although it would be pronounced “ook” – in a reference to a reoccurring character from the series. More than 70 million copies of Pratchett’s Discworld novels have sold worldwide, which means there are a lot of other fans out there who have yet to sign the petition. You can add your name here!


Stranger Than Crime Fiction


In one of those stranger-than-fiction scenarios, bestselling crime writer Stephen Leather has been accused of cyberbullying by fellow crime writers, Jeremy Duns and Steve Mosby.

In the past week, both Duns and Mosby have alleged that Leather set up sites to attack them. The animosity between Leather and the two other writers appears to stem from a 2012 controversy around the practice of “sockpuppeting” – promoting one’s books online under fake identities. At the time, Leather admitted to using fake identities to promote his books, while Duns endorsed a campaign against the morally-dubious practice. Duns goes into a lot of detail about the ways that Leather – again, allegedly – set out to undermine him, such as launching sites like and

Dun’s detailed account of the entire four-year ordeal can be read on his blog. It has also been encouraging to see writers such as J.K. Rowling and fellow crime writer Stuart Neville come out and condemn these alleged actions taken by one writer against others. Taking to Twitter, Rowling wrote that this was ‘a very disturbing read. If true, this is shameful behaviour.’ Leather has yet to respond to the allegations.


Bowie’s Books

So much has been written about Bowie this week across media both social and professional, so I will not add much. It was nice, however, to see The Guardian reveal a list of Bowie’s 100 favourite books in the aftermath of the icon’s unexpected death. The intriguing and eclectic list can be viewed here.


TS Eliot Prize

Earlier this week, Sarah Howe’s debut poetry collection, Loop of Jade, was announced as the winner of the prestigious TS Eliot Prize. Born in Hong Kong in 1983 to a Chinese mother and British father, much of the collection explores Howe’s multifaceted heritage. Responding to the announcement of Howe’s win, Pascale Petit – one of the judges of this year’s prize – said that Howe “brings new possibilities to British poetry.”

Howe won the award ahead of an incredibly strong shortlist, including the likes of Claudia Rankine, Les Murray, Don Patterson and Sean O’ Brien. Howe also gets to take home £20,000 for her troubles. Nice for some.


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