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The Carpet People

Trinity's copy arrived soon after publication: the accessions stamp is dated 17 January 1972. The leaf for pages 33 and 34 is tipped in, as with all copies of this first edition, because the printer had accidentally printed the illustration on page 34 upside down. One of more than 30,000 legal deposit books acquired that year, it received a 'J' shelfmark for 'juvenile' materials.

Terry Pratchett became Britain's most successful writer during the 1990s, published in more than 40 countries and translated into more than 35 languages. Trinity awarded him an honorary degree in 2008 and appointed him an adjunct Professor of English. Colin Smythe, long Pratchett's literary agent and himself a Trinity alumnus, donated all non-UK publications of Pratchett's work: every single translation and edition now forms part of a much-treasured special collection.

Academically Pratchett's work has been under-researched, but now, inspired by the Library's rich holdings, a group of Trinity researchers is investigating Pratchett through the lenses of children's literature, literary translation and digital humanities. The humble copy of that first novel at J 9928, however, serves as a beautiful reminder of the gems buried among the millions of legal deposit books.

Shelfmark: J 9928

Christoph Schmidt-Supprian

Dr Christoph Schmidt-Supprian is Sub-Librarian (Collection Management), with particular responsibility for resource description standards and processes. He is passionate about the role of research libraries in preserving all publications, print and digital, and making them available to present as well as future readers.