Terry Pratchett's Blog
December 11, 2017
When? January 11th-13th 2018
Where? Prince of Wales Centre – Cannock, Staffordshire
The Tower Players are putting everyone’s favourite anthropomorphic personification front and centre in their new production of Stephen Briggs’ adaptation of Mort.
Death comes to us all.
When he came to Mort, he offered him a job.
Having been assured that being dead is not compulsory, young Mortimer soon finds that romantic longings do not mix easily with the responsibilities of being Death’s apprentice…
You can get your £12 tickets here or you can call 01543 578 762
For further details, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Based on Terry Pratchett’s Mort.
*Posted on behalf of the Tower Players.*
September 12, 2017
From today, the Discworld app will no longer be available for purchase. It will also cease working on devices that upgrade to iOS 11. We would like to thank the fans that have downloaded the app for their feedback and hope that you enjoyed the experience. The app team have issued the following statement:
‘We recently found out that Apple are withdrawing support for 32-bit apps in their newest operating system, iOS 11 – this means that all 32-bit apps will stop working on devices that upgrade to iOS 11. As it was developed several years ago, the Discworld App is a 32 bit app and falls into that category. We have looked into updating the app in line with Apple’s new OS, but the original developers of the app are no longer in business and without them we unfortunately don’t have access to the complete assets needed for this kind of update. So we’re sad to say that the Discworld App will no longer be available to buy after Apple updates to iOS 11, and will no longer work on devices that update to iOS 11. We apologise to any Discworld fans who will be disappointed by this.’
July 26, 2017
We are so pleased to share the covers for the next instalments in the Discworld Collector’s Library, coming to a bookshop near you in October this year. Continuing in the style of the series, Joe McLaren has produced four beautiful covers. We hope you agree these are worthy of a place on any Pratchett fan’s bookshelves. As if you need a refresher, here’s a little more info on these four Discworld books:
Thief of Time
The construction of the world’s first truly accurate clock starts a race against, well, time for Lu Tze and his apprentice Lobsang Ludd. Because it will stop time. And that will only be the start of everyone’s problems…
For a policeman, there can be few things worse than a serial killer loose in your city. For Commander Sam Vimes, it all feels horribly familiar. He’s back in his own rough, tough past without even the clothes he was standing up in when the lightning struck. Now, he must track down the murderer and change the outcome of the rebellion. The problem is: if he wins, he’s got no wife, no child, no future…
Polly Perks had to become a boy in a hurry… Now, she’s enlisted in the army and searching for her lost brother. There’s a war on, and Polly and her fellow recruits are suddenly in the thick of it, without any training. Not only this, but the enemy is hunting them…
Moist von Lipwig is a con artist and a fraud and a man faced with a life choice: be hanged, or put Ankh-Morpork’s ailing postal service back on its feet. It’s a tough decision. The post is a creaking old institution, but there are people who still believe in it, and Moist must become one of them if he’s going to see that the mail gets though. Getting a date with Adora Bell Dearheart would be nice, too.
We hope you like these new covers as much as we do! Look out for opportunities to win the set via our newsletter and Facebook page.
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February 14, 2017
BBC2 documentary ‘Terry Pratchett: Back in Black’ featured Paul Kay in the role of Pratchett and contributions from Neil Gaiman and Val McDermid. The documentary was moving and insightful, funny and fierce – everything we have come to expect from the world of Terry Pratchett. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. Here are some of our favourite moments…
1. Paul Kaye as Pratchett
Our first sighting of Paul Kaye as Terry Pratchett follows a scene that is difficult to watch, as in footage from 2014 we see the real Terry, a man of words, struggle to form a coherent sentence. Kaye’s performance takes us back to Terry at his fiercely witty best. Done badly, this ‘docudrama’ format could have been excruciating… but Kaye is a revelation. And as he reminds us, in Terry’s own words: ‘No one is truly dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away.’
2. Recognition at last
We’re sure we weren’t the only ones shouting at the TV as they heard the literary establishment describing Discworld as ‘nerdy real-ale stuff’ not suitable for girls, and comparing Pratchett fans to ‘insects scurrying around under a rock’. The later TV footage, when we finally hear the critics appreciate Pratchett, describing his language as richer than Tolkien’s, had us punching the air. Who’s laughing now?
3. Character inspiration
‘Everybody you’ve ever known has gone into the dark mill of your mind,’ Terry tells us. We loved hearing about the inspiration for Discworld characters, from the Luggage and the Librarian to Esk and Sergeant Jackrum. We particularly enjoyed Bernard Pearson’s wicked laugh after reading the (not entirely flattering) description of the character that Terry said was based partly on him:
‘The word “fat” could not honestly be applied to him, not when the word “gross” was lumbering forward to catch your attention.’
4. Rhianna’s memories of her dad
Through Rhianna’s memories of her father, we see beyond the larger-than-life figure of Terry Pratchett the author, to the dad who, on snowy days, would pick up his daughter from school with a sledge in tow.
‘Dad embraced the narrative of the moment rather more than the practicality.’
5. Terry’s love of reading
Ok, we’re biased, but who doesn’t love the feeling of sitting down with a new book? Hearing how the young Terry discovered the joy of reading, from London Labour and the London Poor to Tove Jansson’s Finn Family Moomintroll, reminds us that books contain all the entertainment we could ever need.
6. Val McDermid on Sam Vimes
Not only does McDermid highlight the quality of Terry’s crime writing, she articulates exactly why we love Sam Vimes, ‘the boy from nowhere who goes on to rule the world… a good man trying to do the right thing.’ Remind you of anyone?
‘Just like Sam Vimes, I started out with very little. And ended up being knight of the realm… not bad for a boy who was told he’d never amount to anything eh?’
7. Pratchett confronts his old headmaster
One of our favourite moments didn’t actually make it into the documentary, but is available on the BBC website as a deleted scene. We see Terry, dressed in school uniform, come face to face with his old nemesis. ‘You don’t get a sword when you’re knighted’ the headmaster tells him, condescendingly. ‘I know, shocking isn’t it’, Terry replies, drawing his blade, ‘I had to make my own’.
8. Terry on Alzheimer’s
Terry puts his disease in terms we can comprehend, and it is poignant and visceral:
‘On the first day of my journalistic career I saw my first corpse – some unfortunate chap had fallen down a hole on a farm and had drowned in pig shit… All I can say is that, compared with that horrific demise, Alzheimer’s is a walk in the park. Except with Alzheimer’s my park keeps changing. The trees get up and walk over there, the benches go missing and the paths seem to be unwinding into particularly vindictive serpents.’
9. Neil Gaiman breaks your heart
If Neil Gaiman’s grief-stricken final words in the documentary didn’t make your heart hurt, we don’t know what will.
‘It was toward the end, and I thought…I want to talk to my friend. And we said everything we had to say. And he was there. And then Rob turned up with scampi and we sat and ate scampi. I miss him so much.’
As Paul Kaye bids us farewell on behalf of Terry, he entrusts us, and the world, with the stern instruction not to ‘bugger it up’. A message that couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time.
June 2, 2016
We’re excited to announce that the Discworld Collector’s Library will continue!
By popular demand, this collection of beautiful but affordable hardback editions, currently available up to Jingo, will now expand to include all the adult Discworld novels. The first four new additions – The Last Continent, Carpe Jugulum, The Fifth Elephant and The Truth – are coming to a shelf near you in time for Hogswatch. And here is the exclusive first look at Joe McLaren’s stylish covers for them!
April 26, 2016
A biography of Terry Pratchett written by his personal assistant Rob Wilkins, a graphic novel by Pratchett and a Discworld Encyclopedia were among the new publishing revealed at a memorial to celebrate the late author last night (14th April).
At a ceremony in Barbican Theatre attended by more than 1,000 people to honour Sir Terry, who died after battling Alzheimer’s in March last year, Wilkins also revealed Neil Gaiman would be writing an adaptation of his book with Pratchett Good Omens (Corgi) for the television screen, on Pratchett’s request.
While Transworld has not released any more details on the projects, Wilkins revealed he would be writing the biography on stage at the end of the memorial and said that Small Gods, a graphic novel from Pratchett with new artwork by Ray Friesen, will also be released, to be published on 28th July under the Doubleday imprint. A “Discworld encyclopaedia” is also in the pipeline.
A host of adaptations were also revealed. Along with Gaiman writing Good Omens for the screen in a six-episode series, the book Mort is to be made into a film by Terry Rossio, the second highest grossing screenwriter in the world behind such successes as Disney’s Aladdin, Shrek and Pirates of the Caribbean, Wilkins revealed.
The Wee Free Men is also being adapted for the screen by Pratchett’s daughter, Rhianna Pratchett, with further details expected to be revealed at Comicon.
A host of entertainment was provided at the memorial, including electric guitar folk music from Steeleye Span (below) and theatrical skits, film reel highlights and touching readings from Pratchett’s friends Gaiman and actor Tony Robinson.
Wilkins in the role of presenter took the audience on a journey through Pratchett’s achievements and presented “Order of the Honey Bee” merits and tokens of gratitude to influential people in his life. These included agent Colin Smythe; artist Bernard Pearson; m.d. of Narativia Rod Brown; Malcolm Edwards; m.d. of Transworld publishers Larry Finlay; former editor Philippa Dickinson; artist Paul Kidby; writer Stephen Briggs, lecturer Dr Patrick Harkin; and University of South Australia vice-chancellor David Lloyd, whose university is the recipient of the perpetual $100,000 Sir Terry Pratchett Memorial Scholarship.
Three of Pratchett’s past editors, former Puffin editor Dickinson, HarperCollins Children’s Books s.v.p. Jennifer Brehl and US children’s book editor Anne Harvey, convened on the stage during the memorial to share their experiences of the “sometimes challenging role” of being one of Pratchett’s editors. Dickinson, who first met Pratchett in 1987, recounted how the author “didn’t need much help if any from his editors”, with usually two or three books on the go, and her role as “keeper of ‘the timeline of doom'” that was Pratchett’s publishing schedule. She also spoke of the time when Pratchett, after mulling over some of her editorial criticism after a steely silence over the phone, drew the charitable conclusion the following morning (after a sleepless night for his editor): “I have decided you are not a cantankerous old bat after all”.
Brehl, meanwhile, revealed Pratchett’s confusion to her reaction after he first made the New York Times bestseller list: “Once he hit that list, all his subsequent books did too. It was about 6pm when I was on a commuter train going home when I got the exciting news it had hit the list. I called Terry and said ‘Terry you did it, you are a NYT bestselling author’ – and I promptly burst into tears. ‘Are you crying?’, he asked, sounding surprised, confused – and irritated. ‘There’s no reason to cry, Jen, it’s just a list!’ Even though he made fun of me, and he acted like it was no big deal, it really meant a lot to him,” she recounted.
Transworld m.d. Larry Finlay also spoke, adding: “As the Discworld world developed, Terry’s novels just got better and better. His characters richer and fuller. One of the joys of this world is it holds up a sparkling distorted mirror to our own world in all its complexities, it’s joys, it’s frustrations, it’s brilliance and its madness. Whether his keen lens scrutinised trade unions, or banking, or prejudice, the cloth, bureaucracy or academia, Terry’s novels shone a light on us and the bizarre, baffling yet extraordinary rich tapestry of our lives.”
He closed: “The PCA finally took Terry from this world on 12th March last year. It robbed him of so many more years of life, family, friendships and writing, and it robbed us of so many more books unwritten, so much invention, so many stories, so much wisdom and so much joy – but, as Terry wrote in Reaper Man: ‘No one is finally dead until the ripples they caused in the world die away – until the clock he wound up winds down’.
“My final words must of course go to Terry’s character, Death. In Good Omen he says: ‘Don’t think of it as dying, think of it as leaving early to avoid the rush’.”
The memorial lasted a little over three hours, with goody bags containing a book of Pratchett’s musings to take away.
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A year after the writer’s death from Alzheimer’s, a tribute in London drew together fans and friends from Neil Gaiman to Tony Robinson – and left us with the feeling Pratchett’s legacy is in safe hands
Pink-haired twentysomethings lined up alongside bearded gentlemen wearing top hats and tails as readers gathered at London’s Barbican to pay tribute to Terry Pratchett a year after he died from Alzheimer’s. A crowd whose diversity bore witness to the bestselling author’s wide appeal were united in grief and celebration.
For fans such as Stefan, who applied for tickets to the free event via a public ballot, the sadness at Pratchett’s untimely death was still palpable.
“I haven’t touched his last book,” he said. “I haven’t wanted to read it because I know it is the last one.” Like a fine whisky, Stefan continued, he’s saving The Shepherd’s Crown – Pratchett’s posthumously published final Discworld novel – “for a special occasion”.
The evening was a celebration not only of Pratchett’s life and work, but also of the people he brought together. Some Discworld fans spoke of travelling from the US and Australia. One recounted meeting her husband when she appeared in a Discworld play he was directing. The musicians and artists I spoke to, all choosing different elements of Pratchett’s creative output that had, in turn, inspired their own.
Our host was Pratchett’s longtime assistant, Rob Wilkins, who recalled meeting the author after queuing for a signature along with other Discworld fans, the smell of new hardbacks delivered to Pratchett’s kitchen table, and how he started typing up the novels when Pratchett couldn’t do it himself any more. When Wilkins asked Pratchett what he’d want at his memorial service, Pratchett replied: “To be there,” adding: “knowing your mother will be in the room, I want you to use the words ‘fuck’ and ‘bugger’.”
“I was imagining we’d be here in 2038 – I’d be 70, Terry’d be 90,” Wilkins said. “Wouldn’t that have been lovely? But there is not a lot about that we can do, except to celebrate him.”
Sir Tony Robinson read Pratchett’s Dimbleby lecture on Alzheimer’s and assisted dying, while the author’s daughter, Rhianna, read the obituary she wrote for the Observer. Dr Patrick Harkin, whose collection of Pratchett ephemera includes an onion pickled by the man himself, appeared alongside Discworld sculptor Bernard Pearson, as well as Pratchett’s publisher, Larry Finlay, and agent, Colin Smythe.
Neil Gaiman flew in from the States to read his introduction to Pratchett’s 2014 non-fiction collection A Slip of the Keyboard, and found himself presented with his friend’s trademark hat. Gaiman, looking a tad thunderstruck, placed it for a moment on his head, but quickly took it off again, saying: “Oh, I don’t dare.”
Overall, the mood was fond. There was laughter at an early Pratchett quote about writing more Discworld novels, when the author was quite unaware of the fame and books that would follow (“I don’t think I’ve exhausted all the possibilities in one book”). Friends and editors recalled his occasional cantankerousness, his delight at cracking America and his vigorous campaigning to change the law on assisted dying. Footage from an upcoming BBC documentary about Pratchett’s life showed the author – a little thinner, but still blessed with the same humour – remembering his first impressions of The Wind in the Willows as a child: “The moles and badgers go into each others’ houses! They had hats! I thought: ‘This is lies.’”
A raft of Pratchett-related projects and adaptations were announced or confirmed, including:
• A BBC documentary about Pratchett’s life, with footage of some of his last conversations with Wilkins.
• A TV adaptation of Pratchett and Gaiman’s novel Good Omens, to be adapted by Gaiman himself at Pratchett’s request.
• A film adaptation of Pratchett’s 2003 novel The Wee Free Men by his daughter, Rhianna Pratchett.
• A biography of Terry Pratchett, to be written by Wilkins.
• A film adaptation of the 1987 novel Mort, to be written by the second-highest-grossing screenwriter of all time, Terry Rossio.
• A fan-funded film of Pratchett’s short story Troll Bridge, which is in post-production.
• The long-rumoured fantasy police procedural The Watch, set in Discworld.
• A series of Discworld encyclopedias – volume one is titled Death.
Despite the overwhelming list of announcements, fans were reassured that Pratchett’s legacy is in safe hands; Wilkins insisted once more that the 10 unfinished novels sitting in Pratchett’s archives would not be published or finished by another author.
It was an evening that matched the deft tone of Pratchett’s work – joyful silliness mixed with wry philosophy and honest, often humorous reflections on death. A night that began with a solemn choir accompanying a montage of bookcovers falling through an hourglass ended with a rousing version of Always Look on the Bright Side of Life, led via video message by Eric Idle. Pratchett may not have been there, but there is no doubt he would have enjoyed himself.
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March 15, 2016
The inaugural British Book Industry Awards’ Book of the Year shortlists – covering Children’s, Début Fiction, Fiction and Non-fiction – showcase the “glorious way that publishing continually shifts and reinvents itself”, chair of judges Cathy Rentzenbrink has said.
Revealed today, the lists consist of eight books in each of the four categories. The awards honour not just the author and illustrator of a title, but the entire team, from editor to publicity to sales, and all those in between. Among the books making the shortlist are Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman (William Heinemann), Joe Wicks’ Lean in 15(Bluebird), and Terry Pratchett’s The Shepherd’s Crown (Doubleday Children’s). One author, Matt Haig, has two books on the shortlists.
Judges for the Children’s category are Booka Bookshop manager Carrie Morris; Waterstones head of books Melissa Cox; Book Trust’s Gemma Malley; journalist Stuart Dredge; and author and The Reading Agency ambassador Bali Rai. Presiding over Non-Fiction are Tesco’s Karen Brindle; Arifa Akbar, literary editor of the Independent; Robbie Millen, literary editor of the Times; and Foyles assistant buyer Gary Powell.
The British Book Industry Awards take place on 9th May in London. For more information and to book, click here.
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The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) is pleased to announce that Sir Terry Pratchett (28 April 1948 – 12 March 2015) has been named the recipient of the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award.
Among the positive changes SFWA has made this year is renaming the Solstice Award to the Kate Wilhelm Solstice Award. We felt that doing so acknowledged the important role that Ms. Wilhelm has played not just in SFWA’s history, but overall in the field of speculative fiction.
This decision also brings the award’s name more in line with the naming of other SFWA awards, such as the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation, the Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction, and the Kevin O’Donnell Jr. Service to SFWA Award.
Created in 2008 and given at the discretion of the SFWA President and Board, the award is for individuals who have had a significant impact on the science fiction or fantasy landscape, and is particularly intended for those who have consistently made a major positive difference within the speculative fiction field, much like its namesake.
Sir Terry joins the ranks of previous honorees, including Octavia E. Butler, James Tiptree, Jr., Tom Doherty, Carl Sagan, and Stanley Schmidt.
In his long career, Sir Terry used humor and satire to entertain and educate, becoming one of the best-selling British authors of the twentieth century. His work has inspired numerous authors and readers. Pratchett has donated his time and money to orangutan conservation efforts and Alzheimer’s research. Pratchett was knighted by Queen Elizabeth for his service to Literature in 2009.
SFWA President Cat Rambo wrote, “I deeply regret Sir Terry’s untimely passing, and my inability to give him the award in person. He’s shaped the genre in ways that will resonate for centuries.”
The Nebula Awards will be presented during the annual SFWA Nebula Conference, which will run from May 12-15th and feature seminars and panel discussions on the craft and business of writing, SFWA’s annual business meeting, and receptions. On May 13th, a mass autograph session will take place at the Palmer House and is open to the public.
The Nebula Awards recognize the best works of science fiction and fantasy published in the United States as selected by members of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, membership in which is open to professional science fiction and fantasy authors. The first Nebula Awards were presented in 1966.
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March 8, 2016
“I’ll be more enthusiastic about encouraging thinking outside the box when there’s evidence of any thinking going on inside it.”
A collection of the wittiest and wisest words from Terry Pratchett.
Coming 21st April 2016.
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