New Year's Honours 2009: Terry Pratchett
Story by Jack Foley
POPULAR author Terry Pratchett has been made a knight in the New Year Honours list for services to literature.
Sir Terry, 60, is best known for his hugely popular Discworld series of comic fantasy novels, and has sold more than 55 million books worldwide.
He is also well-known and highly regarded for his tireless campaigning to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease, a condition he has been suffering from personally, and which he announced in December 2007.
Commenting on the honour, Sir Terry said he was “flabbergasted” and continued: “There are times when phrases such as ‘totally astonished’ just don’t do the job. I am, of course, delighted and honoured and, needless to say, flabbergasted.”
His joy was echoed by Neil Hunt, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, who told the BBC: “I would like to congratulate Terry on this fantastic and well-deserved achievement.
“Terry is not only a successful author and well-loved public figure; he is also playing a key role in fighting the misunderstanding and stigma surrounding dementia.”
Born in April 1948 in Beaconsfield, Sir Terry was educated at High Wycombe Technical High School and developed a passion for writing from an early age.
He sold his first story at the age of just 13 and used the money to buy a second-hand typewriter. Then, in 1971, he had his first book published, The Carpet People, which detailed the first of Pratchett’s alternative universes.
His most popular works, however, have proved the Discworld novels, which boast magical characters and alternative universes. The first Discworld novel was The Colour of Magic, in 1983, which Sir Terry wrote in his spare time while working as a press officer.
Its subsequent success enabled the author to take up writing full time in 1987, following the completion of his fourth Discworld novel, Mort.
There are now 36 books in the Discworld series, several of which have been adapted for TV – most recently in a popular Sky TV mini-series starring David Jason.
Sir Terry is also Patron of The Alzheimer’s Research Trust, and has donated nearly £500,000 for research into Alzheimer’s.
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