Colin Smythe2020-01-11T22:23:18+01:00

Colin Smythe

Colin Smythe Limited is a publisher based in Gerrards Cross, Bucks. The company published Terry Pratchett’s early works, and later became his agent.

Founder, with Peter Bander, later Bander van Duren (1930-2004), and owner of the company is Colin Smythe. Other past directors have included Sir Robert Mayer CH (1879-1985, Chairman), and A. Norman (Derry) Jeffares (1920-2005), while fellow directors remain Ann Saddlemyer and Leslie Hayward. Colin and Peter met Terry Pratchett in 1968 and published his first book, The Carpet People, in 1971, to be followed by his next four books, The Dark Side of the Sun, Strata, The Colour of Magic, and The Light Fantastic, before coming to a co-publishing arrangement with Victor Gollancz for the next three titles, Equal Rites, Mort and Sourcery. Colin became Terry’s agent in 1987, dealing with Terry’s publishers all over the world as well as film, television, drama productions, merchandising, and dealing with internet piracy. (Film, TV, professional stage and merchandising are now looked after by Terry’s production company Narrativia.) Colin has also published fantasy works by William Barnwell and Hugh Cook.

He graduated from Trinity College, Dublin, in 1963. Three years later, he started his publishing company, Colin Smythe Ltd, specialising in Irish literature, with books by or about authors such as W.B.Yeats, Lady Gregory, J.M.Synge, George Moore, G.W. Russell (better known by his pen-name AE), Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde, Oliver St John Gogarty, James Stephens, and William Carleton, and also on subjects such as the Irish epic myths, the fairy faith, ghosts, folklore, heraldry, orders of knighthood, diplomacy, politics, trout fishing, and parapsychology. He also is agent for the literary estates of a number of Irish authors, including George Moore, Lady Gregory and Oliver St John Gogarty. In 1998 he received an Hon. LLD from Dublin University (Trinity College) for services to Irish Literature. He is a Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London, and enjoys contributing to Wikipedia.


I am extremely grateful to the Estate of Josh Kirby, to Paul Kidby and to Marc Simonetti for allowing me to use their artwork as the backgrounds for the Terry Pratchett pages. The images have really made a tremendous difference to the site.

Many thanks too, to Rob Wilkins and Con Kondonis, whose enthusiasm and hard work have made the present site what it is.

Rob also created the first version of this site in the 1990s, writing all the code and designing it from scratch. Where would I have been without his remarkable (but little-known) computing and programing genius?

I am also extremely grateful to Annie Mac of Wossname fame for voluntarily proof-reading every page of the entire website: her eagle-eyes have caught so many things that I had missed. A noble lady, to whom I’m deeply indebted.                      Colin

Other interests

There is a site dedicated to mezzotint prints by my grandfather Richard Smythe (1863-1934), who was one of the leading figures working in this print-making technique during the first decades of the last century, during which time he executed mezzotints in colour and monochome after works by, among others, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Sir Joshua Reynolds, John Hoppner, George Romney, J.M.W. Turner and, by Royal Command, a mezzotint of Sir John Lavery’s 1913 ‘Royal Group’ of King George V, Queen Mary, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) and Princess Alice the Princess Royal.
The site can be found at

An obituary of my great-grandfather, John G. Murdoch, publisher, musical instrument maker, numismatist (having amassed the largest collection of post-Roman English coins in the world), from Music, ?August 1902, p.473, can be found at

Charles Elmé Francatelli, Crockford’s, and the Royal Connection’
early versions of this article were published in Petits Propos Culinaires, Totnes: Prospect Books, issues 101 (2014) and 102 (2015), pp. 17-42, 100-18, under the above title and ‘Charles Elmé Francatelli: Additions and Supplementations’

‘The Gregorys and Egypt 1855-56 and 1881-82’
an expanded version of an essay of the same name published in Mary Massoud (editor) Literary Inter-relations: Ireland, Egypt and the Far East,
Gerrards Cross: Smythe, 1996, pp. 147-53.

‘Whitefriar Memories, 1967 – 2015’
a supplement to The Whitefriar, the journal of the Whitefriars Club, Vol. 14, No. 1, June 2015.

Bibliographical essays

A. L. Burt’s 1898 Edition of Irish Fairy and Folk Tales Edited by W.B. Yeats’
in Warwick Gould & Edna Longley (editors), Yeats Annual 12, (London: Macmillan), 1996, pp.  248-52.

‘W.B.Yeats, Austin Spare and Eight Poems by W.B.Yeats (Wade 114)’
in Warwick Gould & Edna Longley (editors), Yeats Annual 12, London: Macmillan, 1996, pp. 253-63.

‘Crosby Gaige and W.B.Yeats’s The Winding Stair (1929)’
in Warwick Gould (editor), Yeats Annual 13, London: Macmillan, 1998, pp. 317-328.

The Land of Heart’s Desire: Some hitherto unrecorded printings. Work in Progress’
in Margaret Mills Harper & Warwick Gould (editors), Yeats’s Mask, Yeats Annual 19, A Special Issue, Cambridge: Open Books Publishers, 2013, pp. 350-368.

‘W. B. Yeats’s Mosada (1886)’
in Warwick Gould (editor), Essays in Honour of Eamonn Cantwell, Yeats Annual 20, Cambridge: Open Books Publishers, 2016, pp. 239-261.
For c
orrection to note 26 in the above article concerning Haven O’More, Click here


The background illustration, ‘Image of Solitude’ by Anne Yeats (copyright © 1964) is reproduced by permission of the artist.