Rediscovered by fans, Terry Pratchett Short stories to be published

Short stories by the late fantasy author Terry Pratchett are set to be published later this year after previously being seen under a pseudonym in a newspaper.

The 20 tales in A Stroke of the Pen: The Lost Stories were written by Pratchett in the 1970s and 1980s for a regional newspaper, mostly under the pseudonym Patrick Kearns. They have never been previously attributed to Pratchett, who died in 2015 aged 66, eight years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and is survived by his wife Lyn and daughter Rhianna, who is also a writer. Pratchett is well-loved for his 41 interconnected Discworld novels published between 1983 and 2015.

The collection was bought by Pratchett’s longtime publisher Transworld for a six-figure sum, and will be published on 5 October.

The discovery of the stories is down to a group of Pratchett’s fans. One of the longer stories in the collection, The Quest for the Keys, had been framed on Pratchett fan Chris Lawrence’s wall for more than 40 years. When he alerted the Pratchett estate to its existence, the rest of the stories were unearthed by fans Pat and Jan Harkin, who went through decades’ worth of old newspapers to rediscover the lost treasures.

He got in touch with the Pratchett estate about it, resulting in the others being found by fellow fans Pat and Jan Harkin after they raked through decades’ worth of old newspapers.

Mr Lawrence said: “The Quest for the Keys resonated with me as a 15-year-old, which is why I made the effort to collect each part.

“I treasured and kept them safe for over 35 years. Having survived numerous house moves, little did I know of their importance. Following contact with [Pratchett’s publisher] Colin Smythe, I realised just how significant they were.” During his lifetime, Sir Terry wrote 70 books and had sales of more than over 100 million copies in 43 languages, over 44 years of writing.

Although the rediscovered stories do not take place in the Discworld setting, they “hint at the world Sir Terry would go on to create”, Penguin said.

“Readers can expect to meet characters ranging from cavemen to gnomes, wizards to ghosts, and read about time travel tourism, the haunting of Council offices, and a visitor from another planet,” the publisher added.

Other unpublished Pratchett works will not see the light of day, however. In 2017, a hard drive containing up to 10 incomplete novels was crushed by a steamroller, in accordance with the novelist’s wishes.