Apr 28 2013 10:00am
Terry Pratchett is the Most Shoplifted Author in Great Britain For A Reason

Terry PratchettToday, April 28th, marks Sir Terrence David John Pratchett’s birthday, and along with being appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2009 (an honor that caused him to forge his very own sword from iron that he dug out of the ground), he is also the most shoplifted author in Britain. And what that tells us is actually very simple; Terry Pratchett writes wonderful books and we love to read them.

An only child and self-described “nondescript student,” Pratchett was first commercially published at age 15, and claims to have received his true education from the Beaconsfield Public Library. He has been an astronomy enthusiast all his life, and has an observatory in his home garden. There is an asteroid named after him. He has a love of wide-brimmed black fedoras, and a wit welcome among the likes of Twain and Wilde. While a great deal of fantasy spends its time displaying the grimmer aspects of life, the world loves Terry Pratchett for his ability to tell the truth in ways that make us laugh.

With a background in journalism, it wasn’t until 1987 that he began to write novels full-time, but he already had several Discworld books under his belt. Discworld, of course, is Pratchett’s comedic fantasy series that takes place on the Disc, and has given readers such memorable characters as Rincewind, Samuel Vimes, Granny Weatherwax, and Susan Sto Helit. It is Pratchett’s mastery of satire that makes him a legend even now, along with the vast knowledge of literature and more that permeates all of his works.

Pratchett is known for his staunch defense of the fantasy genre, his aggravation when it is dismissed as a literary form because, as he has said, it is “the oldest form of fiction.” His ability to write fantasy novels that are sharp, referential, and relevant have led many fans to the genre who might have otherwise never explored it. His is a mind that never stops learning and exploring, and the books that he writes reflect the scope of his interests, making us smarter in turn.

Despite being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease in 2007 (or, to use his words, the “embuggerance”), Terry Pratchett has continued to write, refusing to stop until he has absolutely no choice. He is a reader’s reader, an author’s author, and a treasure not just for genre fiction—but for the literary world.

1. Trib
Glad to see all the Pratchett love! How about a Discworld reread? I would be all over that.
David Levinson
2. DemetriosX
You might have noted that today is his 65th birthday or at least mentioned that he was born in 1948. Otherwise, it's all a bit vague. Also, he did not dig up the iron ore his sword is forged from. It's meteoric iron which he helped to smelt and then assisted in the forging of the sword. The meteoric nature of the iron both reflects his interest in astronomy and is far cooler.
Michael Walsh
3. MichaelWalsh
Accoding to this: the "most shoplifted" survey was done in 1996 and as Sir Terry comments "surely someone has overtaken me by now".
lake sidey
4. lakesidey
So I just realised - I share my birthday with Terry Pratchett and Harper Lee. Two of the greatest literary influences of my life. How did I not know this before today?! This is so awesome.

*does happy dance*

Ellen Cheeseman-Meyer
5. EllenMCM
@2 - Glad to know I'm not alone. On first read, this article looks like an obituary. I'm relieved it's his birthday instead.

ETA: And now I see that mentioned in the first line.
Shaz Taslimi
6. shaztaz
At the end of my copy of Good Omens, a Science Fiction Book Club edition, there is a section written by Neil Gaiman on Terry Pratchett and I never forget how Gaiman said that Pratchett is one of those rare people who like WRITING rather than HAVING WRITTEN (approximate quote as I do not have the book at hand) which always seemed to me a very apt description.
Shaz Taslimi
7. shaztaz
"Terry is that rarity, the kind of author who likes writing, not having written, or Being a Writer, but the actual sitting there and making things up in front of a screen."
8. Billie A Williams
A delightful article regardless if all the 'i's' were dotted as in mention of BD and age etc. I was worried a bit that it was an obit at first - but he is young yet, we may be able to enjoy his wit and humor quite a bit longer - I sure hope so and thank you for this super article.
9. Pabkins
The embuggerance! Oh no - well I hope he gives it a good swift kick and glad to know he's still going to write until he can't even lift a pen! #willingTerryPratchettslave Oh and of course he's the most shoplifted! Even the readers in the crime world know good stuff when they see it!
Robert Dickinson
10. ChocolateRob
Well I've bought his books for as long as I can remember but maybe we should celebrate his birthday by only stealing his books for the next year and making his 'most shoplifted author' title current and undeniable again. Who's with me?..

What, no one? You bunch of prud-CRASH-THUMP-THUD-(is dragged off by Tor.coms administrative police force).
Nick Eden
11. NickPheas
DemetriosX writes:

"The meteoric nature of the iron both reflects his interest in astronomy and is far cooler."
And it'll get at least +2 against elves, so win-win-win.

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