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Creator of flat-Earth concept Discworld and a cat worshipper: the most interesting facts about Terry Pratchett

On April 28, one of the most popular British writers Terry Pratchett would have turned 76

Terry Pratchett's books have been translated into dozens of languages, sold all over the world both during his lifetime and continue to be published in millions of copies after his death. The writer's works were translated into Ukrainian in 2017: Staryi Lev Publishing House announced the launch of the Discworld series. To date, 28 of the 41 books have been translated.

On April 28, the birthday of one of the most beloved fantasy and science fiction writers of all time, OBOZ.UA publishes a selection of the most interesting facts from the life of Terry Pratchett.

Popcorn, Scrabble and the Big Bang Theory

The writer was born in 1948, just when popcorn was massively sold, the Scrabble board game was introduced to the public, and the Big Bang theory was first proposed.

Creator of flat-Earth concept Discworld and a cat worshipper: the most interesting facts about Terry Pratchett

He dreamed of becoming an astronomer

As a child, the boy was very interested in astronomy and stars in general. As an adult, he not only remained interested in this subject but also built an observatory in his garden.

He bought a typewriter for the money he earned from his first story

Terry's first story was written when he was 13 years old, and a year later it was published in a school magazine called The Hades Business. The future writer earned £14 from this story and used it to buy his first typewriter.

First job as a journalist

At the age of 17, Terry started working as a journalist, writing a weekly column called Children's Circle Story. Some of these stories were later published in the short story collection Dragons at Crumbling Castle.

Creator of flat-Earth concept Discworld and a cat worshipper: the most interesting facts about Terry Pratchett

1968 was a landmark year

Working as a journalist helped Pratchett publish his first book. In 1968, he was interviewed by a local publisher, Pieter Bander van Duren, and accidentally mentioned that he was working on a book. Bander van Duren passed the manuscript on to his co-director, Colin Smythe. Smythe later became Pratchett's publisher and agent. In the same year, the writer married Lyn Purves.

First published novel

In 1971, when Terry was only 23 years old, his first novel The Carpet People was published. It is a comic fantasy novel about a tribe of tiny people who live on a carpet. As the writer became more famous, he decided to rewrite it, adding updated text, original black-and-white illustrations, and an exclusive story written when he was 17.

From journalism to power generation

Following the Three Mile Island nuclear disaster in March 1979, Pratchett left journalism to become a press officer for four nuclear power plants at the Central Electricity Generating Board.

Creator of flat-Earth concept Discworld and a cat worshipper: the most interesting facts about Terry Pratchett

He did not give up writing

While working in PR, he continued to write his novels. In 1983, the first of his favorite Discoworld novels, The Color of Magic, was published. The stories show a disco-shaped world lying on the backs of four elephants, which themselves stand on a turtle. This book spawned a series of 41 books that alternatively honored and parodied writers such as J.R.R. Tolkien, H.P. Lovecraft, Charles Dickens, and William Shakespeare, as well as other fairy tales and mythologies.

A satirical look at various social issues

In his books, Terry Pratchett addressed such important social issues as politics, religion, and gender equality with wit and humor. His satirical approach allowed readers to reflect on these topics in a unique and thought-provoking way.

Novels without chapters

One of the most interesting things about his books is that Pratchett avoided using chapters in his novels. He explained it this way, "Life doesn't happen in ordinary chapters, just like movies, and Homer didn't write in chapters." Only his books for younger readers had a few exceptions.

A full-time writer

In 1987, Pratchett's books had already become so popular that he quit his day job to be a full-time writer and not spend his time doing anything else.

Creator of flat-Earth concept Discworld and a cat worshipper: the most interesting facts about Terry Pratchett

In terms of popularity, Terry Pratchett is second only to J.K. Rowling

In 1996, the Times declared Pratchett a bestselling author in the UK. He sold 70 million books worldwide and was the second most read author in Britain, being behind J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series.

The award he was most proud of

It may surprise you to learn that Pratchett was most proud of the Carnegie Medal, which was awarded to his children's book The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents. He received it in 2002.

Illness

At the peak of his popularity, Pratchett was diagnosed with a severe form of Alzheimer's disease, posterior cortical atrophy. He had a gradual degeneration of the cortex, the outer layer of the brain, in the back of his head. The disease leads to difficulties in reading, distance estimation, using tools and spelling. However, the disease did not stop Pratchett's success: in addition to continuing to write, he became a patron of Alzheimer's Research UK and actively supported fundraising efforts and advocated for raising awareness of the disease.

Knighting

In 2009, Queen Elizabeth II knighted Pratchett for his services to literature, officially making him Sir Terry Pratchett.

Creator of flat-Earth concept Discworld and a cat worshipper: the most interesting facts about Terry Pratchett

His own sword

The writer has always had an eccentric personality and imagination. Now that he had become a knight, Terry needed a proper sword, which he made himself from meteorite iron. The writer found a field with iron deposits not far from his home in Wiltshire, and dug up the ore himself, having 81 kilograms. Then he smelted the iron ore using a homemade furnace made of clay and hay. A local blacksmith hammered Pratchett's handmade iron bars into a silver-finished sword.

"I've spent most of my life creating things that are intangible, so it's an incredible accomplishment to feel when you make something that's really real," the writer said of the process.

His latest book

Pratchett's Alzheimer's disease was progressing. However, despite brain atrophy, he continued to produce books. A few months before his death in March 2015, he finished his last novel, Discworld. Many of Pratchett's fans keep the book unread on their shelves in his honor.

Creator of flat-Earth concept Discworld and a cat worshipper: the most interesting facts about Terry Pratchett

Cat worshipper

Pratchett was fond of cats, so they appear in many of his works. The English writer's cats are real, wild, and characterful, so don't expect just cute fluffy animals. The most famous book about tailed friends is The Unadulterated Cat.

"In the beginning there was a word. And that word was Cat. This unshakable truth was proclaimed to the nations by the feline God through his obedient disciple Terry Pratchett," the book's annotation reads.

Cats were such an important part of the author's life that even his last moments were spent in bed with a cat.

All his unfinished books were destroyed

At the time of his death, there were 10 unfinished novels on his computer's hard drive. However, we will never know what they are about. According to the writer's last wish, Pratchett's unfinished works were destroyed. The hard drive was not only smashed with a steam roller but also put through a stone crusher.

Creator of flat-Earth concept Discworld and a cat worshipper: the most interesting facts about Terry Pratchett

Pratchett's fans often refer to him as "GNU Terry Pratchett".

It's a reference to his 33rd novel about the Discoworld, Going Postal, which tells the story of the creation of an Internet-like system of communication towers called "clacks." In this book, Pratchett writes, "A man is not dead until his name is spoken."

GNU is like a line of code, where G means that the message is to be transmitted, N means not to register the message, and U means that the message is to be repeated. This is a way for fans to keep the memory of him alive.

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