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Terry Pratchett

Terence David John Pratchett (known to some fans as Pterry) is an English fantasy author (born April 28, 1948, in Beaconsfield, Bucks), best known for his Discworld series.

Table of contents
1 Biography
2 Discworld
3 Other non-discworld books by Pratchett
4 Other books containing contributions by Pratchett
5 Works about Pratchett
6 Internet
7 External links


Pratchett's first published work was the short story "The Hades Business", published in his school magazine when he was 13, and subsequently reprinted in Science Fantasy magazine in 1961, for which he was paid 14. His second published work was "Night Dweller", which appeared in New Worlds magazine, issue 156 in November 1965.

On leaving school in 1965, he gained employment as a local newspaper journalist on the Bucks Free Press ("I started work one morning and saw my first body two hours later, 'on-the-job training' meaning something in those days").

It was during his time as a journalist that he was sent to interview Peter Bander van Duren, a co-director of a small publishing company in Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, Colin Smythe Limited, about a new book the company was publishing and Pratchett happened to mention that he'd written a novel of his own, The Carpet People. The rest is history...

In 1980, he became Press Officer for the Central Electricity Generating Board in an area which covered several nuclear power stations; he later joked that he had demonstrated impeccable timing by making this career change so soon after the Three Mile Island nuclear accident in the USA.

He gave up his work for the CEGB in 1987 when he realised he was earning several times as much money from his occasional writing; this allowed him to increase his output and he now typically writes two books in most years. It has been estimated that 1% of all fiction books sold in Britain are written by Pratchett.


Now containing over 30 books, the Discworld series is a humorous fantasy work that parodies everything under the sun where the disc-shaped world rotates on the backs of four giant elephants supported by the enormous turtle Great A'Tuin swimming its way through space. Major topics of parody have included many science fiction and fantasy characters, ideas and tropes, Ingmar Bergman films, Australia, film making, newspaper publishing, rock and roll music, religion, philosophy (mainly Greek), Egyptian history, trade unions, monarchy, and on and on.

Pratchett's novel The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents won the 2001 Carnegie Award for best children's novel (awarded in 2002).

The Discworld novels

Together with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, Pratchett has also written The Science of Discworld (1999) and The Science of Discworld II: The Globe (2002). Both of these have chapters that alternate between fiction and non-fiction, with the fictional chapters being set on the Discworld.

The Colour of Magic, The Light Fantastic, Mort, and Guards! Guards have all been adapted as graphic novels. Several have also been adapted as plays by Stephen Briggs. Wyrd Sisters and Soul Music have also been adapted as animated cartoons by Cosgrove Hall films.

First editions of the early Discworld books in good condition are very valuable - the British first hardcover edition of The Colour of Magic is now worth over 2000 (4,500 copies were printed by St Martin's Press in the USA, of which 506 were sold in Britain under the Colin Smythe imprint, hence the scarcity!), while The Light Fantastic is worth 1000-1500.

It is even possible to get a character in one of the future Discworld books named after yourself. Usually people appear in the books by bidding for the privilege in charity auctions.

The covers of all of the Discworld novels sold in the United Kingdom until 2001 were created by Josh Kirby.

See also: Discworld, Discworld characters

Other non-discworld books by Pratchett

Other books containing contributions by Pratchett

Works about Pratchett

Pratchett's books have received a level of critical acclaim unusual for their genre. A collection of essays about his writings is compiled in the book, Terry Pratchett: Guilty of Literature?, eds. Andrew M. Butler, Edward James and Farah Mendlesohn, Science Fiction Foundation, 2000.


Pratchett was one of the first authors to use the Internet to communicate with fans, and has been a contributor to the Usenet newsgroup for over a decade.

External links