20 short stories from the late great “Discworld” author Sir Terry Pratchett have been rediscovered! The missing tomes will be published in a new collection, “A Stroke of the Pen: The Lost Stories.” The stories ran in a regional newspaper in the 1970s and 80s under the pseudonym Patrick Kearns.
They were rediscovered by a small group of dedicated fans.
“The Quest for the Keys” is one of the longer stories in “A Stroke of the Pen: The Lost Stories.” It has been framed for over 40 years on the walls of Pratchett fan Chris Lawrence. Lawrence got in touch with the Pratchett estate about the story. “The Quest for the Keys resonated with me as a 15-year-old, which is why I made the effort to collect each part,” he explained. “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.”
His contact led to the rest of the short stories in “A Stroke of the Pen: The Lost Stories” being found by Pat Harkin and Jan Harkin. After the pair culled through decades’ worth of old newspapers to find them. [Don’t ever let anyone tell you your fandom isn’t important!]
Pratchett passed away in 2015. During his life, he authored over 70 books. Those books have sold over 100 million copies, and were translated into 43 languages. “For all the years I was Terry’s publisher and then agent he never ever gave me any help in finding his shorter writings – but as he wrote in his dedication to me in Dragons at Crumbling Castle, there were stories he had carefully hidden away,” Colin Smythe, Prachett publisher and agent, said. “Just how true these words were, I had no idea.”
While Pratchett is best remembered for his “Discworld” series, and more recently by “Good Omens” audiences, the stories contained in “A Stroke of the Pen: The Lost Stories” will not take place in that universe. But they do “hint at the world Sir Terry would go on to create,” publisher Penguin Randomhouse 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.”
“A Stroke of the Pen: The Lost Stories” will be available in ebook, hardback, and audio book on October 5th, 2023. Pre-orders are currently open on Amazon UK here.