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Tim Powers

Terence David John Pratchett OBE, (born 28 April 1948, in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, England).

He is an English fantasy author, best known for his Discworld series. As of March 2005 he had sold approximately 40 million books worldwide.

Terry Pratchett was born in 1948 in Beaconsfield to David and Eileen Pratchett, of Hay-on-Wye. He credits his education to High Wycombe Technical High School and Beaconsfield Public Library.

Working as a journalist, Pratchett interviewed Peter Bander van Duren, co-director of a small publishing company. During the meeting, Pratchett mentioned he had written a manuscript, The Carpet People. Bander van Duren and his business partner, Colin Smythe, published the book in 1971.

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 Pennsylvania, USA.

Pratchett gave up his work for the CEGB in 1987 to make his living through writing and since then has managed to publish two novels a year. According to the 2005 Booksellers' Pocket Yearbook, in 2003 Pratchett's UK sales amounted to 3.4% of the fiction market by hardback sales and 3.8% by value, putting him in 2nd place behind J. K. Rowling (6% and 5.6% respectively), while in the paperback sales list Pratchett came 5th with 1.2% by sales and 1.3% by value (behind James Patterson (1.9% and 1.7%), Alexander McCall Smith, John Grisham and J. R. R. Tolkien).

In 1998 Terry Pratchett was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to literature. Typically, his own tongue-in-cheek comment was "I suspect the 'services to literature' consisted of refraining from trying to write any." He has been awarded honorary Doctorates of Literature, by the University of Warwick in 1999, the University of Portsmouth in 2001 [4], the University of Bath in 2003 and the University of Bristol in 2004.

His daughter Rhianna Pratchett (born 1976) is a journalist and "accidental cat collector"; she has also written a fantasy novella titled Child of Chaos, distributed with the computer role-playing game Beyond Divinity. She is working on the scripts and storyline for the PS3 game Heavenly Sword, the Xbox 360/PC game Overlord, and several others. She is a member of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain.

Pratchett lists his recreations as "writing, walking, computers, life". He is also well known for his penchant for wearing large, black hats, as seen on the inside back covers of most of his books. In 2003 Pratchett firmly re-inforced his credentials as one of Britains most loved authors by joining Charles Dickens as the only author with five books in the BBC's Big Read top 100 (all of which were Discworld novels).

On 31 July 2005, Pratchett criticised media coverage of Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling, commenting that certain members of the media seemed to think that "the continued elevation of J. K. Rowling can only be achieved at the expense of other writers".

Terry Pratchett is a Distinguished Supporter of the British Humanist Association.

His father died on the morning of Friday 5 May 2006.

Discworld

Now containing over forty books, the Discworld series is a humorous and often satirical fantasy work that uses the Discworld as an allegory for our every day life. The name "Discworld" comes from the fact that the world is described as being shaped like a large disk resting 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, Egyptian history, trade unions, university politics, and monarchy. Pratchett's novel The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents won the 2001 Carnegie Medal for best children's novel (awarded in 2002).

Related works

Together with Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen, Pratchett has also written The Science of Discworld (1999), The Science of Discworld II: The Globe (2002) and The Science of Discworld III: Darwin's Watch (2005). All of these have chapters that alternate between fiction and non-fiction, with the fictional chapters being set within the universe of the Discworld, as its characters observe and experiment on a universe not unlike ours. In 1999 Terry Pratchett made both Cohen and Stewart "Honorary Wizards of the Unseen University" at the same ceremony at which the University of Warwick gave Terry Pratchett an honorary degree.