Professor Sir Terry Pratchett OBE was the creator of the hugely successful Discworld series of novels, and became Britain’s best-selling author of adult fiction, writing over fifty wildly successful titles in his lifetime. Here we chronicle Terry’s life and highlight some exciting facts you may not have known about this incredible author and scholar of the human condition.
Terry’s first story was published, when he was just fourteen and he used the proceeds to purchase a typewriter. He left school aged seventeen, and worked as a journalist for his local newspaper, the Bucks Free Press. His first novel, The Carpet People – developed from stories he had written for the weekly children’s section of the newspaper – was published in 1971. The first Discworld novel, The Colour of Magic was published in 1983 and Terry went on to write over fifty bestselling books.
His interests were wide-ranging and eclectic, and are reflected in his books, which are littered with esoteric ideas and wisdom – from beekeeping, folklore and cheese-making, to quantum mechanics, astronomy and the finer aspects of Morris dancing. In 2001, he won the Carnegie Medal for The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents and went on to receive many literary awards, ten honorary doctorates and the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement. He was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1998 and knighted for services to literature in the 2009 New Year Honours.
In 2007, Terry announced that he was suffering from posterior cortical atrophy, a rare form of Alzheimer’s disease. However he continued to write, penning (several?) more novels before his untimely death in 2015. Terry’s final request was that the hard drive containing his unfinished novels be either crushed by a steamroller or fired into space. His assistant and friend, Rob Wilkins, chose the former, having decided that launching a rocket from their rural office in Wiltshire might be impractical.