I will rewrite this page. It was created from what I wrote for the earliest Discworld Convention reports, with revisions and new material added to it over the years from each of the later ones (which can be found elsewhere on this site).  It was slanted to Terry’s works as they appeared, rather than to his life. I think it was adequate at the time, but until I have time to edit it, I include it still, and it does have information not recorded elsewhere.  I recommend Marc Burrows’ biography, published  on 30 July 2020.                                               Colin Smythe, 6 April 2020

Sir Terry Pratchett Kt OBE: born 28 April 1948, in the Kinellan Nursing Home, Penn Lane, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, and dying from the effects of Posterior Cortical Atrophy, a variant of Alzheimer’s Disease, peacefully, in his Wiltshire home on 12 March 2015.

Major source of education: Beaconsfield Public Library (though school must have been of some little help). After passing his 11-plus in 1959, he attended High Wycombe Technical High School rather than the local grammar because he felt ‘woodwork would be more fun than Latin’. At this time he had no real vision of what he wanted to do with his life, and remembered himself as a ‘nondescript student’, but he had an interest in radio, he and his father belonging to the Chiltern Amateur Radio Club in the early 1960s, their joint handle being ‘Home-brew R1155’. It was from this that Terry’s interest in computers grew – when a transistor cost a week’s pocket money and you built things like a radio round one. His enthusiasm was noted in the February 1962 issue of the school magazine, the Technical Cygnet, in which the Form 3 C report notes, ‘Then, of course, we have Pratchett, our form representative, who is a very keen radio enthusiast and owns his own amateur receiver’.[1]

At school, his writing talent was recognised by one of his teachers, Janet Campbell-Dick, [2]  and as a result he was fourteen when he first appeared in print: his short story ‘Business Rivals’ was published in the December 1962 issue of the Technical Cygnet, and nine months later, much enlarged, it was published as ‘The Hades Business’ in the August 1963 issue of Science Fantasy. With the proceeds from that first sale he bought his first typewriter. Over the next three years, other short stories, ‘Look for the Little – Dragon?’, ‘The Searcher’, ‘Solution’, and ‘The Picture’ also appeared in the Cygnet. Terry was evidently in line for a bright future.

Having earned five O-levels and started A-level courses in Art, History and English, he decided after the first year to try journalism, and when a job opportunity came up on the Bucks Free Press, he talked things over with his parents and got their agreement (after he’d already been offered a job by the editor), and left school in 1965, to the sorrow of, among others, the school’s Senior Debating Society, its Secretary [3]reporting in the Cygnet: ‘Regrettably, Pratchett’s premature departure has meant the loss of one of our great characters’, and reported on ‘one of the most memorable debates of the year’, held on 20 May 1965, when the motion was ‘This House Believes that the Government should bend to meet the needs of the motorist’: ‘Pratchett rose magnificently to the occasion and put on a performance that the arch-goon Spike Milligan would have found difficult to emulate. It was in this debate that Pratchett added another meaning to the word “autocracy”, that is “government by autos”.’

Education continued while indentured as an apprentice to Arthur Church, the Editor of the Press: he still read avidly, took the two-year National Council for the Training of Journalists proficiency course (coming top in the country in his exams) as well as gaining an A level in English, both while on day-release.

Alongside all the reporting activities at the Bucks Free Press – from court cases and local politics, to flower shows, to reporting on deaths (the first dead body he saw was within 24 hours of starting the job), he also took on the role of ‘Uncle Jim’ in the Children’s Corner column, announcing kids’ birthdays and, more importantly, writing short stories to entertain them, the first of which featured the world and characters that later became The Carpet People. During his first stint at the Press he wrote sixty short stories for it, never missing an episode for over 250 issues, and when he returned after a brief stint with another paper, he produced another eleven over sixty episodes.

Terry married Lyn Purves at the Congregational Church in Gerrards Cross in October 1968, by which time he had interviewed Peter Bander van Duren, my fellow director of our publishing company Colin Smythe Limited, for the Bucks Free Press about a book he had edited on education in the coming decade, Looking Forward to the Seventies. At this time Terry mentioned to Peter that he had written a book called The Carpet People and asked whether we would consider it for publication? So it was passed to me. Yes. It was a delight, and it was obvious that here was a book we had to publish – indeed, we could not not publish it, and so we offered Terry a contract, which he accepted and signed. And seeing how good an illustrator he was, we asked him to illustrate the book, and over the next year or so he produced about thirty illustrations. We published the book in November 1971, with a launch party in the carpet department of Heal’s store in Tottenham Court Road, London. Peter and I both written blurbs for the book jacket, and as each wouldn’t give way as to which was to be used, we used both, one on the front flap and the other on the back cover. I regret to say that I now do not remember who wrote which.

The Carpet People received few reviews, but those few were ecstatic, describing it as being ‘of quite extra-ordinary quality’  (Teacher’s World), ‘a new dimension in imagination … the prose is beautiful’ (The Irish Times) and ‘I recommend it as one of the most original tots’ tomes to hit the bookshops for many a decade’ (‘Whitefriar’ in Smith’s Trade News). What the reviews would have been like had reviewers seen the illustrations in colour – Terry hand-coloured the illustrations in about half a dozen copies – can only be guessed. These coloured illustrations have been on display on the L-Space site for a few years,[4]and all those relevant appeared in an illustrated edition published by Random House Children’s Books in 2009 (Terry had revised the story for publication in 1992 and some passages he had illustrated did not appear in the revised version). A few more of Terry’s pictures of Carpet characters have been reproduced in the US edition published by Clarion (a division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) on 5 November 2013, forty-two years (less eleven days) after its first publication. And Clarion’s edition also has one of the Carpet People stories first published in the Bucks Free Press in 1965 and not since seen in print. Their publicity department have even produced a trailer for YouTube, based on Terry’s drawings.[5]

Terry left the Bucks Free Press for the Western Daily Press on 28 September 1970, but he returned to the Press in 1972 as a sub-editor. On 3 September 1973 he joined the Bath & West Evening Chronicle. (At this time he also produced a series of cartoons describing the goings-on at the government’s fictional paranormal research establishment, ‘Warlock Hall’ which Peter commissioned for our monthly journal Psychic Researcher, of which he was editor.) Terry and Lyn’s daughter Rhianna was born in 1976, and many of his books have been dedicated to her. The Dark Side of the Sun (1976, with a jacket design by Terry himself) and Strata (1981, with a jacket illustration by Tim White) were both written on dark winter evenings, when it wasn’t possible to work in the garden, and during his time at the Chronicle he wrote another thirty short fictional works, as well as becoming one of their book reviewers, tending to specialise in folklore and skewering the pretensions of the numerous New Age works that were being published around that time.

In 1979 Terry was appointed a publicity officer for the Central Electricity Generating Board (now PowerGen) with responsibility for three nuclear power stations, Oldbury, and Hinckley Point stations A and B – (‘What leak? – Oh, that leak.’ And in a phone call from his boss at 6.30am, ‘Have you heard the news? No? Well, it’s not as bad as it sounds….’). But his immediate problem on arrival was that he wasn’t supposed to type his own press releases – internal bureaucracy dictated that they had to be sent to the typing pool. Stand-off. Terry had fifteen years of skilled shorthand and touch-typing under his belt and wasn’t about to let his perfectly typed press releases be mangled, mistyped and delayed by any bunch of typists in the pool, so the CEGB had to accustom itself – with deep misgiving and much internal anguish – to Terry’s way of doing things.

In 1981, he spoke about his just-published Strata, his first novel involving a circular, flat earth, ‘Fundamental to the story is a theme hinted at in my previous SF book The Dark Side of the Sun, that nothing in the universe is “natural” in the strict sense of the term; everything, from planets to stars, is a relic of previous races and civilisations. Life is not an afterthought on the universal scheme of things, but an integral part of it which was in there shaping its development from the beginning. It might be true, for all I know.’ And he added, ‘I am also working on another ‘discworld’ theme, since I don’t think I’ve exhausted all the possibilities in one book!’ Indeed he had not, as the future would show. He was working at the CEGB when we published the first of the Discworld books, The Colour of Magic, in 1983 with a jacket design by a talented young Brighton Poly graphic design student Alan Smith. Given that it consisted of four connected tales, I hesitate to call it a novel, and our contract actually defines it as a collection of short stories. Terry’s paperback publisher at the time was New English Library, whom we had licensed to publish The Dark Side of the Sun and Strata (both with cover illustrations by Tim White) but they failed to market Strata adequately – the fact they’d just been taken over by Hodder & Stoughton at the time did not help matters, as Hodder’s sales representatives had heard of few of the NEL authors they were now selling, with the possible exception of Robert Heinlein. NEL published Strata in 1982, but when they remaindered their stock in 1985, I bought about 300 copies and so kept the book in print for a few more years. (Later both titles were republished by Corgi and later in hardcover by Doubleday, who included as part of their edition 500 numbered copies signed by Terry, but sold at the same price as the ordinary copies. It was rather a lottery as to which booksellers got copies for their special customers. Or perhaps not: probably they were allocated to those booksellers that sold most Pratchett books.)

In 1983 I was able to interest Diane Pearson at Corgi (Transworld’s paperback imprint) in The Colour of Magic, and as soon as I knew that Corgi would be interested I got NEL to forego their option clause – something like the following conversation took place with the principal editor, Nick Webb: ‘As Strata sold so badly, you don’t want to publish Terry’s next book, do you?’ ‘No, we don’t.’ ‘Oh dear. Well never mind. I expect I’ll be able to find another paperback publisher in due course,’ – and Diane in turn convinced Corgi to buy the paperback rights. Corgi succeeded in getting BBC Radio 4 ‘Woman’s Hour’ to broadcast it as a six-part serial, immediately after which Nick rang to ask whether the paperback rights were still free…

Corgi’s publication of the first Discworld novel in late 1985 was the turning point in Terry’s writing career. ‘Woman’s Hour’ later broadcast his third novel, Equal Rites in, I think, early 1987. At the time, I was told that no other books had generated so much reaction from their listeners.

The Light Fantastic was published in 1986, by which time it had become obvious to Terry and myself that if he was to maximise his potential, then he had to move to a major hardcover publishing house, as our small company was unable to cope with the demands of bestsellers, and that this should be done while we were still friends. Victor Gollancz’s SF list was very well known and respected, and Terry indicated that he’d like to be published by that company. I suggested to a friend who was a director at Gollancz, David Burnett, that they should consider taking Terry on, and although they had published very little fantasy before, once the editor of their SF list Malcolm Edwards was convinced of their saleability, we struck a co-publishing deal for three titles, Equal Rites, Mort and Sourcery, and these appeared under Gollancz’s imprint ‘in association with Colin Smythe’.  Before Mort was published, I remember Malcolm taking us out to lunch at his club, 1 Bridges Place, Covent Garden, and confidently telling Terry he was destined to appear in the Top Ten Bestseller Lists. With Terry’s increased popularity, however, it was obvious that this arrangement would cause a conflict of loyalties for me, so it was terminated and I became Terry’s literary agent. Until the appearance of The Last Continent, all Discworld novels were published in hardcover by Gollancz, while Corgi published all the paperback editions (except Eric).

In September 1987, soon after he had finished writing Mort, Terry decided that he could afford to devote himself to full-time writing, rather than merely doing so in his spare time after work: he thought he might suffer a drop in income for a while but that it would pick up in due course – and anyway, he enjoyed writing more than fielding questions from the Press about malfunctioning nuclear reactors, so he resigned his position with the CEGB (about which he said he could write a book if he thought anyone would believe him). His sales – and income – picked up very much more quickly than he expected, and his next Gollancz contract was for six books, [6] with much larger advances. Gollancz also signed up Eric, a novella illustrated by Josh Kirby, that was first published simultaneously in large-format hardcover and paperback editions in August 1990, and the following year as a small A-format paperback without the illustrations. It has since been published in other countries in both illustrated and unillustrated versions.

Terry’s collaboration with Neil Gaiman, Good Omens, was published on 10 May 1990. There were film options and rumours of options since then, but now in May 2019 it was released as a six one-hour episode series by Amazon Prime and the BBC, with Neil writing the script and being showrunner, and with a host of famous actors). However, late in 2007 the Costa Book Awards carried out a survey of the most re-read books, and Good Omens came fifteenth, ahead of The Bible and The Hitchhiker’s Guide. (It is now available in a number of audio formats: as an unabridged audiobook, issued in the UK by Isis and read by Stephen Briggs, while the American edition, published by HarperAudio, is read by Neil’s preferred choice, Martin Jarvis. A 4 hr 20 mins. audio adaptation, adapted by Dirk Maggs, was later released by the BBC in 2015.) Also in 1990, Clarecraft Designs, a company in Suffolk, founded by Bernard Pearson, [7] was licensed to produce a series of models of Discworld characters, and before it closed in 2005 it had produced over 200 figurines, many of which were also produced as pewter miniatures. In October 2008 the Polish company, Micro-Art Studios, started producing Discworld miniatures under licence, based on Paul Kidby’s illustrations.

As Discworld grew in Terry’s imagination, so did the complexity of the city of Ankh-Morpork, and Stephen Briggs, with Terry’s input, set about creating a street map of the city mostly based on the descriptions of the activities of Samuel Vimes and the City Watch. This was initially drawn by Briggs, but then painted by Stephen Player, and it was issued with an accompanying booklet as The Streets of Ankh-Morpork by Corgi in November 1993. Following its success – rather bizarrely it reached no. 4 in the bestseller non-fiction list, if I remember correctly – Terry and Stephen then created The Discworld Mapp, published by Corgi in 1995, again painted by Stephen Player (both superseded by Discworld Emporium productions.)

Sales continued to improve, Soul Music (published by Corgi in May 1995) spent an unbroken run of four weeks in the no.1 position on the paperback bestseller list, The first Discworld computer game (if we exclude the ill-fated Piranha’s very basic 1986 Colour of Magic, created by Delta-4 for Amstrad, Commodore and Spectrum computers), produced by TWG/Perfect 10, was released by Sony’s games company Psygnosis on St Patrick’s Day 1995 (which in 2009 was still being lauded as ‘one of the best adventure games out there’). In the run-up to Christmas 1996 both Maskerade and Interesting Times featured in the top ten hardcover and paperback lists.

In 1997 I read that Reaper Man (1991) was Britain’s eighth fastest-selling novel for the previous five years: a remarkable achievement for any book at that time, let alone a so-called ‘genre’ novel. (Of course, the Harry Potter phenomenon was soon to change that market out of all recognition, and we were then surprised at nothing.)

Of his books for young readers – all published by Doubleday Children’s – Truckers (1989), the first volume of what is known in the USA as the Bromeliad Trilogy, was a landmark in that it was the first children’s book to appear in the British adult paperback fiction best-seller lists. It was followed by Diggers, and Wings (both 1990), the revised version of The Carpet People (1992), and the three Johnny Maxwell books, Only You Can Save Mankind (1992), Johnny and the Dead (1993), which had been the first Terry had started work on, but put aside to write Only You as a result of the Gulf War, and Johnny and the Bomb (1996), which won the Smarties Prize Silver Award that year. Film rights in the Truckers series [8] were acquired by Dreamworks Animation in 2001, but only in June 2011 did we see movement. Terry, Rob Wilkins (Terry’s PA), and I met up with Jeffrey Katzenberg in London to be told how it was developing, with Anand Tucker directing and John Orloff scriptwriting (gone were the rumours of Danny Boyle at the directorial helm, with scripts by Frank Cottrell Boyce and Craig Fernandez – his being titled Everything Must Go). It was going to be animated but with real humans being the … humans. And then, about a year later I was rung up by the producer to be told the film had been cancelled. Given that Dreamworks had acquired a licence for the Danish Dam trolls, and had initially wanted to use these instead of Terry’s nomes – they were rather worried the nomes were too close to the characters of Nomeo and Juliet – this was probably not a bad thing. (And Fremantle Media have been able to release a digitally remastered unabridged DVD of Cosgrove Hall’s series which, due to the Dreamworks contract they had not been able to do before its termination.)

In 1993 Corgi started issuing abridged versions of the Discworld novels as audio-books read by Tony Robinson, and two years later the unabridged versions started to be released by Isis Publishing. Of the first twenty-three, twenty-one were read by Nigel Planer and two by Celia Imrie, and since the twenty-fourth, all have been read by Stephen Briggs, who has also read the Truckers trilogy, The Dark Side of the Sun, Strata and Good Omens for Isis. Chivers (now part of the BBC) have issued the Johnny Maxwell novels and The Carpet People, all read by Richard Mitchley. In the States, Terry’s most recent novels have been also read by Stephen Briggs for release by HarperAudio. Almost all are available for download from audible.com and from audible.co.uk.

Playtexts by Stephen Briggs, of Mort, Wyrd Sisters, and Johnny and the Dead (this by Oxford University Press), were also published in 1996, as was Gollancz’s publication of Feet of Clay, described on the jacket as a ‘chilling tale of poisoning and pottery’, featuring, among others, Commander Sir Samuel Vimes, Captain Carrot and the City Watch. The Pratchett Portfolio of Paul Kidby’s illustrations of Discworld denizens, with accompanying text by Terry, was published in September and November saw the publication of Hogfather, the paperback edition of Maskerade, and the release by Psygnosis of Perfect Entertainment’s game, Discworld II: Missing, Presumed…. In May 1996 Gollancz also published David Langford’s Discworld Quizbook Unseen University Challenge. [9]
As to sales, Hogfather and Maskerade shared the honours by being top of the hardcover and paperback lists respectively two weeks running. It was the third time Terry had had books in the no.1 positions in both lists simultaneously, and as far as I know, no other author had succeeded in doing this even once up to that time. And Hogfather held the no.1 position in the hardcover fiction list for five weeks. The Times stated that by their calculations, he was probably the highest earning author of 1996 in Britain.

Jingo, in which Ankh-Morpork and Klatch go to war over an island in the Circle Sea that tends to rise and sink, and the Patrician and the City Watch have to settle matters, was published in 1997, as was Discworld’s Unseen University Diary for 1998 (the first of eight co-written with Stephen Briggs and illustrated by Paul Kidby), and Cosgrove Hall’s cartoon series Wyrd Sisters [10] was shown on Channel 4, with Astrion releasing it and Soul Music on video. (For some reason – possibly the arrival of a new head of department – although it was also commissioned by Channel 4, Soul Music was only transmitted in the middle of the night on 27 December 1999, over two years after its release on video). Corgi have published the illustrated film-scripts of both. Stephen Briggs’ stage adaptations of Guards! Guards!, and Men at Arms were also published that year.

Also in May 1998, Corgi published The Tourist’s Guide to Lancre by Terry and Stephen Briggs, illustrated by Paul Kidby, and Terry’s and Paul’s Death’s Domain was published in May 1999. The third computer game, called Discworld Noir, was also released about that time, as were a double volume containing The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic, entitled The First Discworld Novels, published by Colin Smythe Ltd. At the same time, the paperback edition of The Last Continent came out and stayed for something like twelve weeks in the no.1 position on the Sunday Times paperback bestseller fiction list. In August Steve Jackson Games issued the GURPS Discworld game with contributions by Terry (though citing Terry and Phil Masters as joint authors) and illustrated by Paul Kidby, which was followed in 2001 by GURPS Discworld Also, illustrated by Sean Murray.

As far as Britain was concerned Terry was the 1990s’ best-selling living fiction author. His sales now run at well over three million books a year. In 2001, it was reported that during the first 300 weeks’ existence of the British Booktrack’s (now called Bookscan) weekly bestselling chart, over 60 titles had continuously been in the top 5,000 bestselling titles, on the basis of a single ISBN and the author with the most titles in this listing was Terry with twelve novels, The Colour of Magic, Guards! Guards!, Pyramids, Soul Music, The Light Fantastic, Reaper Man, Interesting Times, Sourcery, Men at Arms, Equal Rites, Mort and Wyrd Sisters. By 2008 only twelve titles remained in that category, and three of those were Terry’s – The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic, and Mort. No other author had more than one. The Bookseller’s article announcing this fact therefore crowned him ‘evergreen king’. Now with his paperback sales being divided between a number of different formats and cover designs, while the combined totals of their sales are as good as they were, none is an evergreen.

In 2003 the BBC Big Read showed Terry as having as many titles in the top 100 best-loved books – five – as Charles Dickens. (Initially Terry was told he had seven in the list, this being the figure the BBC gave him when they interviewed him for the programme, thus beating Dickens by two books. Subsequently the number was reduced – for some reason not divulged – to five, so there was a dead-heat for first place, and all those questions in the interview that referred to his seven titles therefore had to be deleted.) The second 100, as listed in The Big Read Book of Books contained a further ten novels by Terry.

Terry has also written a number of short stories, a number of which have Discworld themes. The longest, ‘The Sea and Little Fishes’ was published in October 1998 (in Legends, a collection edited by Robert Silverberg). He said he found that short stories involved him in almost as much work as a full-scale book, and if he was already writing a novel – which was almost all the time – he found it very difficult to stop and change tracks, as it were, and write a short piece, so there are fewer of that genre around than one might expect. A non-Discworld story, ‘Once and Future’, appeared in a collection in the USA in 1995, but it was not published in Britain until 2012 as at one time Terry had thoughts of expanding it into a novel. A collection of Terry’s short writings, Once More, with Footnotes was published in the US to coincide with the 2004 Worldcon, when Terry was its Guest of Honor. This was a limited print-run, as were two reprints, so the prices of second-hand copies are painfully high. (Everything has since appeared, with much other material, in A Blink of the Screen and A Slip of the Keyboard.)

When he took up his position with the Western Daily Press in 1970 Terry and Lyn moved to a cottage in Rowberrow in Somerset, and in 1993 when he found he could not enlarge the cottage further, the family moved to what Terry has described as ‘a Domesday manorette’ south west of Salisbury. Alert fans will have seen pictures of this on the TV interview at the time Soul Music was published, and in Salisbury Newspapers’ July 2001 issue of Limited Edition, under the title ‘Planet Pratchett’. During the 1993 move, Terry slipped outside the front door of the cottage, hit his head, and mildly concussed himself, blotting out his memory of the previous few hours. Unfortunately, he had received a cheque from me that morning for a rather large sum of money. He was certain he put it somewhere safe, but had no recollection where, and it never turned up, much to Terry’s lifelong puzzlement. The replacement cheque was safely banked, without problem.

Terry’s work for the Orangutan Foundation is common knowledge. In 1995 he went out to Borneo with a film crew to see orang-utans in their native habitat, and among the praise that ‘Terry Pratchett’s Jungle Quest’ received was a comment by Sir Alec Guinness in his diary (published the following year), that it was – apart from one other programme – ‘the most impressive thing I’ve seen on the box this year’). Terry also did a year’s stint as Chairman of the Society of Authors (1994-95), was elected a permanent member of its Council, and was chairman of the panel of judges for the 1997 Rhône-Poulenc Prizes for Science Books (later known as the Aventis Prizes, and since 2006 the Royal Society Prizes, as they are now owned and managed by the Society).

His fiftieth birthday at the end of April 1998 was celebrated by a party hosted by Transworld Publishers. While news of a celebration could not be kept from him, I think that its size – fifty guests to a dinner at the Ivy Restaurant in Soho, with various original presents – took him completely by surprise. Transworld had even inveigled Christopher Lee, who had been doing the Death voice-overs in the Discworld computer games, along. But what hit the headlines that year was his appointment as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s 1998 Birthday Honours List ‘for services to literature’. The initial soundings-out from Downing Street came as such a surprise to him that initially he suspected that it must be an elaborate hoax. However, accompanied by his family, he went to Buckingham Palace on 26 November 1998 to receive the decoration from the Prince of Wales.

The Fifth Elephant was published in November 1999, as was Nanny Ogg’s Cook Book (written in collaboration with Stephen Briggs, with recipes by Tina Hannan, and illustrated by Paul Kidby).

In July 1999 he received an honorary Doctorate of Literature (D.Litt.) from the University of Warwick (and in turn granted doctorates of the Unseen University to Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, co-authors with him of The Science of Discworld, which had been published the previous month). This was the first of a number of honorary doctorates, from the University of Portsmouth (2001), the University of Bath (2003), and Bristol University (2004).

Terry’s twenty-fifth Discworld novel, The Truth, was published in November 2000. This novel had been started some years previously but he put it aside as for some time he could not see how the plot would develop. An idea of how long ago he started planning it is given by the original working title – Interesting Times – which got used for a different novel, published in 1994. [11]  The Truth is about Ankh-Morpork’s first newspaper, so Terry was able to make use of some his experiences from his own reporting days. It was the first Discworld novel to have been published simultaneously in Britain and America. (It was also a classic example of snobbery in the British literary establishment. Publishers had always known that until very recently before that time Literary Editors of the major nationals would on principle never put a Fantasy or SF novel in the top ten list when sales justified their inclusion, but it also extended to the booksellers. Terry had asked me to get him a copy of The Truth, and as I was going past Hatchard’s Bookshop in Piccadilly, I went in and looked for it on their Bestseller Table (which was a few feet away from a whole bookcase of Harry Potter novels), and not seeing the book there, I asked why it was missing, to be told in a very supercilious manner, ‘Well, it’s not a best-seller, is it?’ My reply that it was in its fourth week in the No.1 position in the Sunday Times list cut no ice. ‘It’s downstairs in the SF dept. They’re very possessive, you know!’ Obviously they would not allow even two or three copies in the front of shop to rub bindings with proper bestsellers. So I walked out in disgust, and went down the street to Waterstones, who had a pile of more than 20 copies in the front window, and bought my copy there.)

The Truth was followed in May 2001 by Thief of Time, featuring Susan, History Monks, the Auditors, the Five Horsemen (including the one who left before they became famous) and even chocolate-covered coffee beans… In August 2001 Gollancz published the 2002 Discworld Calendar, entirely made up of pictures by Josh Kirby. They also published the 2002 Diary – The Thieves’ Guild Diary. The Last Hero, featuring Cohen the Barbarian, the Silver Horde, and a cast of thousands, amazingly illustrated by Paul Kidby, was published in October 2001. This was followed a couple of weeks later by The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, which won the prestigious Carnegie Medal for the best children’s book of the year. Before the repeat presentation in front of librarians invited to the event, Terry was able to palm the gold medal and replace it with a chocolate-centred gold ‘coin’ of the same size, which he proceeded to eat, to the amazement of his audience.

(I have from the outset been a keen collector of all things relating to Terry and his books, and all the publicity and merchandising aspects related to them, and my collection became too large to house at my home, so I rented rooms in the village to store them in, but after an unfortunate event relating to a burst water pipe that could not be turned off for some hours, I decided to look for a permanent home for it. In July 2001, with Terry’s full support, I offered the collection to the University of London’s Senate House Library, and it was accepted, together with all future books etc I might care to give them. Thus they have everything (I hope), all the editions of the books and variants, translations, play-texts, graphic novels, collaborations, press material, posters, models, the Clarecraft figures, t-shirts, mugs, candles, beer, wine, stamps, prints, games (computer, board and other), artwork relating to them and to the animated series produced by Cosgrove Hall, recordings, audio-books, videos (VHS, DVD, Blu-ray), as well as publications about Terry’s work, and fan generated material. It’s all going to the Library, to my great relief. The original intention was that there was to be a permanent exhibition in the Senate House, and that they were also to be used in travelling exhibitions in collaboration with the British Library, but budget restrictions and policy changes put paid to that project. Copies of all the publications in English and in translation are also sent to the Science Fiction Foundation Collection in the University of Liverpool’s Library, and in 2009, when Terry was made an Adjunct Professor at Trinity College Dublin, I donated a virtually complete set of his overseas publications to its Library, and new editions are regularly added to it.)

Very sadly, Josh Kirby died in November 2001, aged seventy-two. He had illustrated the covers of Terry’s books since Corgi first started publishing them in 1985 and it must be true that outside America – and for many there – the first Discworld book almost every fan acquired would have had a Kirby picture on its cover, and in a number of European countries Kirby covers are still preferred. [12]

Terry’s second collaboration with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, The Science of Discworld II – The Globe, was published by Ebury Press in May 2002, followed in November by Night Watch, the first Discworld novel without a Josh Kirby cover on it (if you don’t count our first edition of The Colour of Magic, which had been published before Josh was selected by Corgi to do the covers). Instead it had a magnificent Paul Kidby painting based on Rembrandt’s ‘The Nightwatch’.

I should also add that main belt asteroid 2002GY1 discovered on April 1, 2002 by J. Dellinger and W.G.Dillon at the George Observatory, was named 127005 Pratchett. It takes 3.62 earth years to orbit the sun.

In Autumn 2002 (the year Terry’s sales accounted for 4.3% of the UK’s general retail market for hardback fiction), Gollancz published The New Discworld Companion (with Stephen Briggs), The (Reformed) Vampyre’s Diary and a Calendar with work by a number of artists, both for 2003, the  year in which Doubleday published Monstrous Regiment,  and The Wee Free Men, a novel for younger readers, set on Discworld, featuring the Nac Mac Feegle and a young girl discovering she has witch-powers, Tiffany Aching. This won the 2004 W.H.Smith People’s Choice Book Award in the Teen Choice Category. It also won the Locus Award for the Best Young Adult Novel of 2003. Terry’s second novel featuring Tiffany Aching, A Hat Full of Sky, which brought Granny Weatherwax in as a major player, was published at the end of April 2004.

Going Postal, the thirty-third novel in the Discworld sequence, was published in October 2004 (with an ever-larger selection of stamps emanating from the Cunning Artificer, Bernard Pearson, some of which are reproduced on the book’s end-papers), and became the UK’s biggest selling hardback novel for 2004. It was followed by The Art of Discworld, in which Terry’s text accompanies Paul Kidby’s illustrations. There were only calendars and no diaries for 2004 or 2005 as Terry had not been able to decide on suitable themes for Stephen Briggs and Paul to work on.

The 21st anniversary of the November 1983 publication of the first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic (which has sold something like two million copies in Corgi editions alone) took place in 2004, and to mark this Transworld (in association with Colin Smythe Ltd) issued an anniversary hardcover edition of it with a photographic black and gold cover (with 1,000 signed, numbered and slip-cased copies), as well as the next six novels in paperback with similar cover designs. All the novels are now available in this alternative B-format.

The third Science of Discworld book with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, called Darwin’s Watch, was published in May 2005, and his next Discworld novel, Thud!, appeared at the beginning of October, and apart from its usual appearance at the top of the British bestsellers list, according to Bookscan it broke all records for one week’s sales of an adult hardback fiction novel since they began keeping UK book sales data. Meanwhile, the American edition published by HarperCollins reached the no. 4 position in the New York Times’ bestseller list – the first time in the top ten there.

At the same time Doubleday and HarperCollins issued a short picture book, Where’s My Cow? illustrated by Melvyn Grant, which shows Sam Vimes reading it to his young son, as described in Thud!, but adding his ‘improvements’. This book, the ‘Children’s Winner of the Ankh-Morpork Librarians’ Award’, was written by an Ankh-Morpork author, one Terry Pratchett, whose portrait even hangs in a corner of Young Sam’s nursery. Unfortunately, no biographical details of this author appear in it, and he never featured in any of Terry’s other Discworld books.

2006 started with Terry completing Wintersmith, the third Tiffany Aching novel, the appearance of a three-part adaptation of Johnny and the Bomb on BBC1 TV, the announcement in Variety on 10 January that Sam Raimi planned to direct Wee Free Men (after completing the third Spiderman film), see BBC’s report at http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/newsid_4590000/newsid_4598600/4598672.stm),  though this fell by the wayside once Terry had seen the studio’s revised script following the one he’d approved.

A two-part four-hour dramatised mini-series adaptation of Hogfather (by Mob Films) was transmitted in December 2006, and the DVD is now available. Filmed as live-action with CGI, with the late Ian Richardson as the voice of Death, Sir David Jason as Albert, Marc Warren as Teatime and Michelle Dockery as Susan. Filming the snow scenes took place in February 2006 in Scotland and main filming was completed at the Three Mile Studios in London, with the CGI being created by the Moving Picture Company. In April 2007 it won a BAFTA Interactivity Award, the citation being to Aidan Conway, Giles Pooley, Rod Brown, Ian Sharples (Mob Film Company/Sky One Networked Media). Sky invested more in this than in any previous production they’d commissioned, and their confidence was more than justified by the viewing figures of 2.8 million for this £6 million project, making it the highest rated multi-channel commission ever (to that time), beating BBC3’s October 2006 figures for Torchwood.

While all this was making headlines, Terry finished his next Moist von Lipwig novel, Making Money, published in September 2007, which became the best selling adult fiction novel published that year in the UK, and he finished writing his next young adult novel, Nation, set on a small island in the almost Pacific in the aftermath of a Krakatoa-like eruption. In 2007, too, he had been working with Jacqueline Simpson, eminent folklorist, and former Secretary of the Folklore Society, on The Folklore of Discworld.

Sir David Jason, Tim Curry, Sean Astin and Christopher Lee (as the voice of Death) are four of the major names in The Colour of Magic, the Mob’s second Discworld mini-series for Sky1 and RHI Entertainment, which combined the first two Discworld novels under the title of the first book, and was transmitted in Britain in two parts, on Easter Sunday and Monday 2008 and later in the year in North America and Australia. It was mostly filmed in and around Pinewood Studios in south Buckinghamshire, with forays to Horsley Towers in Surrey, Cardiff docks, Snowdonia (north Wales) and Niagara Falls.

While on tour in America in summer 2007, Terry told audiences at the National Book Festival in Washington DC (during which Terry breakfasted at the White House and dined at the Library of Congress with the other featured authors) and in New York, that he’d had a stroke. – in fact, the symptoms had been misdiagnosed, and were of a far worse illness, posterior cortical atrophy, a rare variant of Alzheimer’s disease, which was diagnosed in December. As he knew he would have to inform his publishers, he thought it wise to make a public announcement (first releasing the news at www.pjsmprints.com/news/embuggerance.html): he knew the news would leak out anyway, and he preferred that people should have the full facts immediately. This got considerable press coverage, but it did not prevent him from completing Nation, and by March 2008 he’d decided that he would hit back at the disease and help the search for a cure – or at least help find methods to control it – by donating a million dollars (over £800,000 sterling) to the Alzheimer’s Research Trust. It took him some time to be prescribed the best drug  available to combat the symptoms, Aricept, as Britain’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (N.I.C.E.)  considered that he was too young to be given it without charge by the National Health Service, so he had to buy it for himself in order to get it.

2008 marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of the first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic, as well as Terry’s sixtieth birthday and his and Lyn’s fortieth wedding anniversary, all of which were celebrated in different ways, public and private. On 14 June he held a five hour signing outside Foyle’s bookshop on London’s South Bank to mark the publication of the Making Money paperback, fortunately in fine weather – and it gave those in the queue an excellent chance to see the Royal Air Force’s fly-past as it headed for Buckingham Palace at the end of the Trooping of the Colour, it being the Queen’s official birthday. The queue was also entertained by songs from the musical of Only You Can Save Mankind, composed by Leighton James House, lyrics by Shaun McKenna, an earlier version of which was seen at the 2004 Edinburgh Fringe.

To mark his sixtieth birthday, Terry’s daughter Rhianna arranged an open-air concert by Steeleye Span (one of Terry’s favourite groups) in their home village in Wiltshire. This was followed in August by the 2008 Discworld Convention, the sixth in Britain. The Folklore of Discworld was published on 11 September, as was the much-acclaimed non-Discworld young adult novel, Nation, almost entirely set on a not quite Pacific island, and a launch party to mark twenty-five years of Discworld and the publication of Nation was held at the headquarters of The Royal Society (which has a ‘walk-on’ part in the book), in London, while the Illustrated Wee Free Men (illustrated by Stephen Player) appeared in early October.

Terry was often interviewed about his books and his thoughts on Alzheimer’s Disease and the government’s attitude to treating the sufferers, pointing out on television, radio and in the press, that up to December 2008 Alzheimer’s research had only been getting 3% of the government funding that cancer research received at the time, and he also highlighted the inadequate treatment general available to sufferers. His vociferous support seemed to be having a positive effect on the government, but supportive words from then-PM Gordon Brown were not backed up by any action. As Rebecca Wood, the Chief Executive of the Alzheimer’s Research Trust said: ‘Terry promised to “scream and harangue” about dementia research. He did much more than that. He became a voice for the 850,000 or so people in the UK who live with dementia but cannot scream and harangue so loudly. Dementia research is still vastly underfunded, but this is changing thanks to Terry’s incredible work.’ But so much more needs to be done.

Terry was busy before he discovered he had early onset Alzheimer’s, but thereafter even more so as he effectively became the public face of the disease: his particular variant leaves the cognitive parts of his mind virtually untouched, as anyone who saw or heard him on TV or radio or elsewhere at that time could vouch. He even spoke at the Tory Party’s annual conference in September in 2008, and received a standing ovation. [13]

The two hour documentary by IWC Media for the BBC, ‘Living with Alzheimer’s’ was shown on BBC2 on 4/5 February 2009 as part of BBC Headroom, the BBC’s two-year mental health and wellbeing initiative, and received two BAFTA awards. As Terry was in Ennistymon, Co. Clare,
 for the first Irish Discworld Convention at the time the awards were to be announced, his PA Rob Wilkins made the exhausting journey from the West of Ireland to Glasgow, accepted Terry’s award and then returned to Ennistymon, from where he almost immediately had to drive the hire-car back to Dublin. Terry and I had a much more relaxed journey home, flying from Shannon Airport to Heathrow.

This article inevitably focuses on activities in the English-speaking world north of the Equator, and much could and should be written about his popularity in other countries and other languages – stage adaptations have been performed on six continents (including Antarctica), and his popularity south of the Equator is considerable. Australia, for example, accounts for about 5% of Transworld’s sales of Terry’s books, and both Thud! and Making Money were no.1 in the Australian hardback fiction bestsellers’ list on publication.

On 9 September 2008 he received a fifth honorary degree, from Buckinghamshire New University (based in High Wycombe, where he’d worked for the Bucks Free Press in the 1960s), and where he was also the guest speaker at the ceremony, and on 12 December he received an honorary doctorate of literature (LittD) from my alma mater, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin University, the only one he was given by a university founded [14] before the 20th century.

The year ended with the announcement that Terry had been included in the 2009 New Year’s Honours List, being appointed a Knight Bachelor, ‘for services to literature’, with the press handout adding that it was ‘in recognition of the huge impact his work has had across all ages and strata of society and across the world’. Amongst the mass of worldwide press reportage, the Independent (London) devoted half its leading article ‘Honours earned and omitted’ to Terry, ending with the words ‘In a period of personal adversity, Mr Pratchett has shown genuine courage. The knighthood of this modest man is an example of what our honours system should be about – and the best reason of all not to scrap it.’

In January 2009 the Royal National Theatre announced that it was going to stage an adaptation of Nation by Mark Ravenhill in the Olivier Theatre, over Christmas 2009. The previews started on 11 November, with the press night on the 24th, and it was shown on NT Live around the world on 30 January 2010. Corgi had published the playtext in time for the preview nights, but the play changed prior to the first night, so the Corgi text differs from the final version, later published by Heinemann.

Terry completed Unseen Academicals some months behind schedule, mainly because of its length (135,000 words – none of his other novels having been more than about 110,000 words) and the complexity of its ‘threads’ and time-line that had to be checked carefully to ensure everything flowed smoothly without internal contradiction. Editing his work now was not as easy for him as it used to be as he had started dictating, either to Rob Wilkins or through a voice recognition program. The Mob’s production with Sky of Going Postal (in which Terry has a cameo role as a postman attempting to deliver a letter to the late, unlamented Reacher Gilt) was filmed in Hungary during the very hot summer of 2009, and was transmitted on Sky at the end of May 2010. It starred Richard Coyle, David Suchet, Claire Foy, Andrew Sachs and Charles Dance. Copyright considerations did not, however, prevent certain members of the cast from, very unofficially, performing ‘Return to Sender’. [15]

Other events during 2009 were the award of further honorary degrees, from Bradford and Winchester, his attendance at the first North American and first Irish Discworld Conventions, his creation of a sword made from iron ore he collected on Salisbury Plain (with the addition of a little bit of ‘thunderbolt iron’ from the Sikhote Alin meteorite to give it that special extra-terrestrial ‘something’), and a cogently-argued article, published in the Mail on Sunday in August, on the right of a terminally-ill person to be able to choose when to die without being viewed as a potential criminal. [16]  Terry developed this theme when, at the end of 2009 he was invited by the BBC to give the extremely prestigious 2010 Richard Dimbleby Lecture, which he called ‘Shaking Hands with Death’. It was broadcast on 1st February 2010, with Terry reading the introductory words and then handing over to his friend Sir Tony Robinson (who had read all the abridged versions of his novels) as his ‘stunt Pratchett’ to read the major part of the lecture. It was about a subject whose ‘time had come’ to be aired, and I thought it remarkable how many people agreed with his viewpoint, Christians and non-Christians alike. This was followed by another documentary, ‘Terry Pratchett: Choosing to Die’, which was aired on 13 June 2011. That week’s issue of the BBC’s magazine the Radio Times featured Terry on the cover, and the headline ‘5 minutes of television that will change our lives… Sir Terry Pratchett on the BBC’s most controversial documentary’. The programme picked up British and Scottish BAFTA Awards, the Royal Television Society’s Best Documentary Award, a Grierson Award and an International Emmy.  The debate generated by the programme soon went viral around the world, and its effects still rumble on.

Terry also collaborated with Stephen Baxter on the Long Earth series, SF novels based on one of his 1980s short stories, ‘The High Meggas’. The five novels in the series have been published every June since  The Long Earth was published in 2012, followed by The Long WarThe Long Mars, (originally called The Long Childhood), The Long Utopia and The Long Cosmos.

In 2009 Terry was appointed an adjunct Professor at Trinity College, Dublin University, and in November 2010 went to Dublin to give his inaugural lecture and masterclasses, as he has done since. In May 2011, H.M. Queen Elizabeth II made a State Visit to Ireland, during which she visited Trinity’s Library to see the Book of Kells and other great manuscripts held there, and afterwards members of the College staff, the Irish academic community and some other fortunate individuals including Terry, Rob Wilkins and I had the great privilege of being introduced to her.

In 2010 Sir Terry became armigerous, Her Majesty’s College of Arms granting him a coat of arms ‘sable an ankh between four Roundels in saltire each issuing Argent’, while the crest is described as ‘Upon a Helm with a Wreath Argent and Sable On Water Barry wavy Sable Argent and Sable an Owl affronty wings displayed and inverted Or supporting thereby two closed Books erect Gules’. You will need to look at an illustration to see what this means. As a motto he chose ‘Noli timere messorem (Don’t fear the Reaper)’

In March 2011, the Royal Mail issued a series of stamps called ‘Magical Realms’, which include portraits of Rincewind and Nanny Ogg (painted by Howard Swindell) as well as characters from the worlds of Harry Potter, Narnia and Arthurian myth.

The following month, Samuel French published Stephen Briggs’ adaptation of Making Money, and in August A&C Black published Matthew Holmes’ The Amazing Maurice & His Educated Rodents, ‘a Terrifyingly Terrific Musical’ for primary school use (with CD). This was followed in 2012 by his adaptation of Johnny and the Bomb ‘a Time-ticklingly Tremendous Musical’. In both cases Matthew adapted the novel, wrote the lyrics, composed and produced the music tracks for the accompanying CD. Impressive.

During the Summer of 2010 the National Portrait Gallery put on an exhibition of mystery portraits in its collection at Montacute House, Somerset and invited various people to create lives for those portrayed. Terry called the character in ‘his’ portrait Sir Joshua Easement, who was a late Elizabethan adventurer with no sense of direction whose later career depended on his total lack of a sense of smell. His biography and those of six other sitters (by authors including John Banville, and Joanna Trollope appear in a paperback published by the NPG in February 2011, Imagined Lives: Mystery Portraits from the National Portrait Gallery c.1520-1640. Such was the exhibition’s popularity that it was transferred to the NPG in London, where it opened on 3 December 2011.

In April 2011 Terry and Rob flew to Australia, to Nullus Anxietas 3, held in Penrith, NSW, then travelled on to New Zealand where, apart from ‘official’ duties, they toured Hobbiton, at which point Rob had to sign a $5m undertaking not to publish any of the photos he took there, and Terry discovered that not one hobbit home had a loo, in-hole or out. They returned to Australia and performed at the Sydney Opera House, and then Terry’s wife Lyn joined him and they went off for a long-overdue holiday, while Rob returned home. In July the second North American Discworld Convention took place in Madison, WI, attended by about 900 fans and nearly a dozen Guests, most importantly, Terry, Stephen Baxter, and Esther M. Freisner, as well as a brief but fascinating visit from Neil Gaiman. This visit resulted in Madison being chosen as ‘Ground Zero’ in Terry and Stephen’s Long Earth collaboration.

Since he was diagnosed with Posterior Cortical Atrophy, Terry had been working with researchers at University College London and on 20 July he and Lyn attended a ceremony at which he was appointed an Honorary Fellow.

On 2 October Terry was awarded the 2011 Karl Edward Wagner Special Award at FantasyCon, and his 39th Discworld novel, Snuff, with Sam Vimes taking an enforced ‘holiday’ was published on 11 October 2011 in the US and two days later in the UK. Terry spent a week on tour, speaking at Seattle’s University Bookshop, in New York at the Barnes & Noble Tribeca, and in Washington DC when he spoke at the National Press Club, also making an unexpected visit to the Capclave Con (‘where reading is not extinct’) before leaving for the airport, to return for the launch in Britain. On his return he took part in a sell-out ‘Evening with Terry Pratchett’ at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, and the following night attended his publisher’s book launch on a Thames paddleboat, the P.S. Elizabethan (temporarily The Wonderful Fanny) – a memorable occasion, with a journey downriver past the Tower of London, under Tower Bridge and then back to the Westminster Pier. During the launch, Transworld’s MD Larry Finlay announced that Snuff was the fastest selling (adult) novel by a British novelist in the UK since records (i.e. computerised recording of book sales) began – over 55,000 copies in its first three days on sale, and it remained in the top position for a second week.

In May 2012 Snuff won Britain’s only award for comic literature, the 2012 Bollinger Everyman P.G. Wodehouse Award, part of the prize being the naming of a pig in memory of ‘The Empress of Blandings’, owned by Wodehouse’s character Lord Emsworth. So there is now a Gloucester Old Spot pig rejoicing (maybe) in the name of ‘Snuff’’. Earlier porkers were saddled with names such as ‘A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian’, and ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’. (Is it inappropriate to wonder whether they live out the remainder of their natural life and die of old age, or end up rather earlier as sausages?)

In April 2012 Terry and Rob travelled to Borneo to revisit the Orangutan sanctuary and see what had happened since Terry last visited and reported on in the 1995 documentary ‘Terry Pratchett’s Jungle Quest’. [17]   It resulted in a new documentary, ‘Terry Pratchett: Facing Extinction’, filmed by Charlie Russell, shown on BBC1 TV on 27 March 2013.

On 23 April 2012, World Book Night was celebrated by hundreds of volunteers giving out special editions of Britain’s favourite twenty-five books (voted for in a public ballot), which included Terry’s and Neil Gaiman’s Good Omens. Each copy of this special printing contains a special page in which the donor has written their name and where it was first given away. And in 2013, Good Omens was one of thirty-two books chosen for World Book Night US. In April 2013 Ebury Press published the fourth volume in the Science of Discworld series, Judgement Day (in which Omnian fanatics lay claim to Roundworld and come up against a doughty London librarian, who has other ideas on the subject, and is not averse to violence, if necessary), while the paperback edition of Snuff appeared in June, accompanied by The World of Poo, written by Discworld’s famous children’s author Miss Felicity Beedle [in reality, the combined efforts of Terry and Bernard and Isobel Pearson].

I had originally thought Terry’s next book would be the third Moist von Lipwig novel, Raising Taxes, but Terry moved away from that idea, deciding on a young adult novel, Dodger, a stand-alone set in 19th century London, featuring ‘Charlie’ Dickens, Henry Mayhew, and a galaxy of historical and fictional figures. It was published on 13 September 2012, and launched with a Victorian themed party at the House of St Bartholomew, in London’s Soho. In resplendent costume, Terry, daughter Rhianna, Rob and publicist Lynsey Dalladay were driven in a horse-drawn open carriage from Terry’s hotel in Mayfair to the event. As a surprise, the carriage doors displayed his coat of arms, but Terry didn’t spot it as the doors were held open for him and the arms weren’t visible, and he missed seeing them as he got in and out. There’s some footage of the event on YouTube. [18]   (Terry used to say that he didn’t mind there being surprises so long as he knew about them beforehand, so he could be prepared to be surprised at the right time, but no one remembered to give him prior notice of this surprise.)

A month later, Doubleday published A Blink of the Screen, with a Foreword by Pratchett fan and Booker prize-winner A.S.Byatt, the first comprehensive collection of Terry’s shorter fiction to be published in Britain, drawn from the archive of his stories and short pieces that I had been collecting over the past four decades from the newspapers he had worked for [19]   as well as all those, Discworld and otherwise, that he’d been commissioned to write. According to its dedication, Terry seems rather puzzled by this activity: ‘Amazingly, he really likes doing this kind of thing…’  [20]  Its non-fictional companion volume, A Slip of the Keyboard, was published in Britain and the US in September 2014, while Blink was published in the USA the following year.

In 2012 Terry decided to move to a new American publisher, the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, a subsidiary of Penguin Random House, who have published Terry’s books through their Doubleday and Anchor imprints. Ten books were signed up, Raising Steam, A Blink of the Screen, A Slip of the Keyboard, the four Science of Discworld books, The Compleat Ankh-Morpork, The Folklore of Discworld (updated to cover all novels up to Raising Steam) and The World of Poo. Terry’s and Stephen’s Long Earth novels naturally stayed with HarperCollins as did the final Tiffany Aching novel, The Shepherd’s Crown, published posthumously, as they had published all the previous Tiffany novels.

In November 2012, Doubleday (UK) issued The Compleat Ankh-Morpork, produced by the Discworld Emporium. This ambitious and elaborate hardback successor to the 1993 Streets of Ankh-Morpork, a unique gazetteer and map of a fictional city, is quite amazing. Not only does it have Michelin Guide type information, and pages of advertisements, but it has a truly beautiful two-sided large map which offers a comprehensive street map on one side, and a lovely artistic bird’s eye view of the entire city on the other. Transworld then issued Discworld: the Ankh-Morpork Map for iPad, a groundbreaking app with animation and with city tours, street cries, etc. Reviewers have been very impressed. The Compleat Ankh-Morpork was published in the US by Doubleday on 28 October 2014, but the app is no longer available, having been overtaken by advancing technology.

Victor Gollancz has continued publishing the Discworld Calendars. The 2012 edition contained all-new work by Paul Kidby; and the 2013 and 2014 editions were devoted to pictures by Marc Simonetti, the French artist whose work I’d first seen when it was sent for approval for use on the mass-market Pocket editions of the French translations. The 2015 Calendar was illustrated by Stephen Player. Gollancz have reissued the first twenty Discworld novels in hardback as The Discworld Collector’s Library, all with woodcut designs by JoeMcLaren on the binding, and he illustrated the 2016 Calendar. (Doubleday are continuing the series in the same format.)

Gollancz published Turtle Recall, The Discworld Companion . . . so far, the fourth edition of the Companion, by Stephen Briggs and Terry (and a jacket illustration by Marc Simonetti) in November 2012. It covers the first 39 Discworld novels and the Diaries so, as the jacket proclaimed, it was ‘Fully updated and up to Snuff!’ This has a great deal of material returned to it which had been removed from the second and third editions. HarperCollins published an American edition in April 2014 – timely, as the first three editions of the Companion were never published in the US.

Unfortunately Terry was unable to attend the third North American Discworld Convention held at the beginning of July 2013 in Baltimore MD, but he and Rob communicated via a Skype connection that can perhaps best be described as erratic, but a good time was had by all. Its chairman Richard Atha-Nicolls and his committee are to be congratulated. The third Irish Discworld Convention took place later that year in Limerick.

The paperback edition of Dodger was published at the end of September 2013, and Terry Pratchett presents Dodger’s Guide to London, a fascinating compendium of facts about the London of Dodger’s time (roughly the 1840s), appeared in November. The 40th Discworld novel did indeed feature Moist von Lipwig, but still was not the expected Raising Taxes, but Raising Steam, which also revolved around the City Watch, the Low King of Uberwald, Sir Harry King, an unlikely heroine, Iron Girder, her inventor Dick Simnel, and a host of villains, which was published on 7 November 2013, and hit the no.1 position in the British Original Fiction list, where it remained for four weeks. [21]   It was published in the USA by Doubleday the following March.

On 28 September 2013 Terry received an honorary doctorate from the Open University. Although its headquarters are in Buckingham, the University’s students hail from all parts of the country and beyond, so graduation ceremonies take place in numerous cities. Terry’s ceremony took place in Portsmouth, and in the obligatory reply that the honorary graduand has to give (in this case read by Rob Wilkins) Terry compared the OU favourably with the UU, where education by osmosis tends to be relied on. The UU’s Library exists and it is up to the students to make use of it, if they want to graduate/survive.

On 16 October, Terry, Rob and I travelled to Dublin to see the world premiere of an animated short film, The Duel, which had been produced by the Animation Hub, a collaboration between the Irish School of Animation, TCD and Giant Animation Studios. Launched at a screening in Trinity’s Science Gallery, we watched wizardly pyrotechnics that occur when two wizards wish to borrow the same book from Unseen University’s library at the same time. Very impressive it is too. But it was to prove to be Terry’s last visit abroad as the symptoms of the PCA were making it impossible for him to travel.

Terry and Steeleye Span collaborated on that group’s most recent album, which is based on Wintersmith. Released by Park Records on 28 October 2013, the tracks were performed on their twenty-eight venue Wintersmith Tour (15 November to 19 December), which made it Amazon’s No.1 Bestseller in English Folk music. A year later, a deluxe edition was issued with fourteen more tracks than had been on the original CD issued in 2013, eight of them being from live performances, and in November they released a DVD, The Wintersmith Tour, which had been recorded on 19 December 2013 in the Salisbury Playhouse, in which Terry had taken  part.

Work is progressing on a number of TV productions: there are to be a number of Discworld projects, all being organised through Terry’s new production and merchandising company Narrativia, which has Rod Brown, one of the producers of the three Mob mini-series screened by Sky, as managing director. Its formation had been announced to cheers at the 2012 Discworld Convention in Birmingham.

As noted, the third of the Pratchett/Baxter novels, The Long Mars, was published in June 2014, followed by the ninth International Discworld Convention (which had sold out in a matter of weeks after booking started), took place at the Palace Hotel, Manchester at the beginning of August. At the end of that month YMT (Youth Music Theatre) UK’s adaptation of Soul Music was produced at the Rose Theatre, Kingston on Thames. A Slip of the Keyboard published in the UK on 25 September, as was Dragons at Crumbling Castle, a collection of fourteen stories written during Terry’s days at the Bucks Free Press, and illustrated by Mark Beech, which had unexpectedly large sales. A further collection, The Witch’s Vacuum Cleaner and Other Stories. Mark has also re-illustrated the Truckers/Bromeliad Trilogy. Mrs Bradshaw’s Handbook (Moist von Lipwig’s discovery) was published on 9 October, to accompany the Corgi paperback edition of Raising Steam. Corgi published the paperback edition of A Slip of the Keyboard in 8 May 2015, followed by Doubleday’s edition of  The Long Utopia in June.  After a couple of false starts involving other plotlines, neither of which ‘took fire’, Terry worked desperately to finish a final Tiffany Aching novel, The Shepherd’s Crown, while he was still able, and it was published six months after his death, in September 2015.

The more one looks through Terry’s stories in the Bucks Free Press and elsewhere, the more one is aware that his lifelong motto in his writing career could have been, ‘Never let a good idea go to waste!’ He said that writing was essential for a happy life, and that when he could no longer create, then would be his decision-time. Sadly that decision could not be taken as he was unaware how ill he was until it was too late to sign a Lasting Power of Attorney, and he had to endure living until he died from the effects of the disease.

During his life, Terry had authored 59 books of which 52 were novels, and co-authored 30 more, and then there are those that were created or evolved from his novels, including 22 published stage adaptations and a number performed but unpublished, eight television series (and a number of derivative volumes), about twenty BBC radio adaptations and readings (plus a number in translation) two musicals, four graphic novels, as well as four TV documentaries: a remarkable achievement. Between them they have sold over 90 million copies in thirty-eight languages, which I calculate would stretch from London to some place in the Sahara if set side by side.

Following Terry’s death, I and others were asked to write appreciations. I found it impossible to do so for some time after the event, but eventually wrote two, one about Terry’s connection to TCD for the online edition of The Irish Times, and the other for Locus: what follows being a slightly revised and cut down version of the latter.

‘I have lost an old and long-standing friend and author, having known Terry since 1968, he then just under twenty, I twenty-six: we signed our contract for The Carpet People in January 1969, although it did not get published until November 1971 because I had asked him to illustrate it, and that took some time. Colin Smythe Ltd was hardback publisher for his first five books (from The Carpet People to the first two Discworld novels, The Colour of Magic, and The Light Fantastic) and then from 1987 I was his agent, so we had worked together for nearly 50 years, over two thirds of both our lives.
     ‘It is hard to look at a future without Terry, his humour, wicked bubble-pricking comments, our discussions on every subject under the sun, his amazing inventiveness, and no longer to have the pleasure of reading every new work almost before everyone else, to be amazed by his style, the deftness of his puns – how can one resist a criminal cleric who steals the altar gold from the Temple of Offler and has it made into a golden trumpet to enchant the world until the god caught up with him and … would that felonious monk be remembered?… not a pianist, but perfect. What light-bulb cross-wiring produced that link, one of only two occasions he used ‘felonious’ in his books? I asked him when I first read that passage in Soul Music how it came to him and he could not say what created it. It arrived, he said, without pre-planning.
     ‘Every time I finished reading a new book, I did so with a sense of immense satisfaction and gratefulness at having read yet another work by a master, the tremendous feeling of superb craftsmanship in every work, this amazing skill that produced books that can be read again and again over the years without ever feeling a loss of admiration, and usually discovering some historical or literary reference or joke that had passed me by on earlier readings. I miss him, but my sorrow takes second place to the relief I feel that he has been freed from the clutches of an horrible disease.’
     ‘In her tribute to Terry, Book Prize winning novelist A.S. Byatt (Dame Antonia Susan Duffy, DBE) wrote that ‘No writer in my lifetime has given me as much pleasure and happiness’. No one has described my own feelings so succinctly.’

Colin Smythe

The surveys I’ve written for the Discworld Convention programmes over the years can be found elsewhere on this site – here.  They give considerably more detail  than the above, and there’s also a chronology of major publication dates in the English language of Terry’s books. And you should certainly look at http://www.discworld.com/news where a lot more information about Terry (and pictures) can be found.

[1]  Technical Cygnet, High Wycombe Technical School Magazine, February 1962, Vol. 1, no. 7, p. 26.
[2] ‘The Teacher who inspired Terry Pratchett.’ By Patrick Sawer, Daily Telegraph, 8 June 2015, p.   http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booknews/11651236/The-teacher-who-inspired-Terry-Pratchett.html

[3] J. R. Hughes U6A, ‘The Senior Debating Society 1965’, in Cygnet, Wycombe Technical High School Magazine, May 1966, Vol. 2, no. 1, p. [20]. His school was subsequently to become the John Hampden Grammar School in 1970.
[4] http://www.lspace.org/art/carpet-people/
[5] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6XSAhx6yG4
[6] Wyrd Sisters, Pyramids, Guards! Guards!, Moving Pictures, Reaper Man and Witches Abroad.
[7] Terry and I had first met Bernard and a colleague in the Stafford, a small and very select hotel off St James’s Street, London, on 12 July 1990, where he showed us a toothy, tho’ legless, model of the Luggage. Terry liked what he saw, and sketched pictures of Granny Weatherwax and Rincewind for Bernard to use as the basis of these characters. Their licence was dated 5 December 1990 and models were on sale before Christmas.
[8] Truckers was originally produced by Cosgrove Hall in 1992 as a much-acclaimed stop-frame animation series for its owners Thames TV, which had also optioned Diggers and Wings, but as the option was about to be exercised, Thames lost its TV broadcasting franchise, and ownership was transferred to Anglia Television. Cosgrove Hall’s workforce was radically reduced and its outlook was bleak. It recovered, for a time, but its fate was sealed and ITV plc, its then owner, closed it down in 2009. The rights in Truckers are controlled by Fremantle Media, while those in Wyrd Sisters and Soul Music, which had been produced for Channel 4, principally belong to ITV.
[9] Dave Langford was, I believe, responsible for Gollancz agreeing to take Terry as an author as Malcolm Edwards was doubtful. As he recently described it far better than I could, in the 20th Anniversary issue of SFX, (no.261, July 2015). I quote him with his permission. ‘I was always a tiny bit nervous about reviewing Discworld novels, because I suspected I should declare an interest. Once upon a time I wrote an enthusiastic reader’s report on Equal Rites, for Gollancz, which may have helped persuade them that they needed Terry. But they probably didn’t need telling.
     ‘That led to many years of reading Pratchett for corrupt personal gain – going through the early drafts and reporting on plot holes, continuity problems, jokes that seemed to need more polishing or went right over my head…
     ‘“Langfordization” of Discworld novels became a tradition, continuing from Mort through to Thud!, but of course I can’t take any credit for the results. Mostly it was a matter of prodding Terry to tackle issues he vaguely knew about but hadn’t yet got around to. It was fun.
     ‘Amazing revelations will not follow, since this tinkering was all in deadly confidence. As our man would add to email when he remembers that I also publish an SF scandal sheet: “NFA, YB” (Not For Ansible, You Bastard.)’
[10] Originally, Cosgrove Hall planned to start by producing Reaper Man, and they received budgeting to produce a short pilot to demonstrate their approach to Terry. This can be seen on YouTube under the title ‘Welcome to Discworld’ – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Js7FbIleccQ.
[11] Another possible title had been Printer’s Devil – the term used in the past in Britain for an apprentice to the printing trade. It had started because a 16th century printer blamed an excessive number of typographical errors in a religious service book not on bad proof-reading but on the Devil.
[12] Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery held a major exhibition of Josh’s work from 15 June to 30 September 2007. Its website now has a detailed biography together with reproductions of examples of all aspects of his work, together with a podcast of a lecture tour round the exhibition by Dr Paul O’Keeffe. http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/walker/exhibitions/joshkirby/. There had previously been exhibitions of his work in the Hammer Gallery in Berlin in 1986, the Durham Art Gallery (8 April to 8 May 1995), and the Williamson Art Gallery, Birkenhead (13 July to 15 September 1996). See also www.joshkirbyart.com.
[13] His Daily Mail article on the illness can be found at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1070673/Terry-Pratchett-Im-slipping-away-bit-time–I-watch-happen.html.
[14] Trinity College Dublin was founded by Queen Elizabeth I in 1592, so the 2011 visit by the second Queen Elizabeth was most appropriate, and in the 59th year of her reign, most timely.
[15] See it on YouTube – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Vffl7NWmso
or here if you are in the UK https://vk.com/video121327993_167450755