> Skip to content
Play sample
  • Published: 3 October 2023
  • ISBN: 9780857529640
  • Imprint: Doubleday
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 240
  • RRP: $32.99

A Stroke of the Pen

The Lost Stories

A beautifully packaged, illustrated collection of twenty rediscovered early short stories by award-winning and bestselling author, Sir Terry Pratchett.

THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER - A truly unmissable, beautifully illustrated collection of unearthed stories from the pen of Sir Terry Pratchett: award-winning and bestselling author, and creator of the phenomenally successful Discworld series.

Twenty early short stories by one of the world's best loved authors, each accompanied by exquisite original woodcut illustrations.

These are rediscovered tales that Pratchett wrote under a pseudonym for newspapers during the 1970s and 1980s. Whilst none are set in the Discworld, they hint towards the world he would go on to create, containing all of his trademark wit, satirical wisdom and fantastic imagination.

Meet Og the inventor, the first caveman to cultivate fire, as he discovers the highs and lows of progress; haunt the Ministry of Nuisances with the defiant evicted ghosts of Pilgarlic Towers; visit Blackbury, a small market town with weird weather and an otherworldly visitor; and go on a dangerous quest through time and space with hero Kron, which begins in the ancient city of Morpork...

A STROKE OF THE PEN is a must-have collection for fans of all ages.

  • Published: 3 October 2023
  • ISBN: 9780857529640
  • Imprint: Doubleday
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 240
  • RRP: $32.99

About the author

Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett was the acclaimed creator of the global bestselling Discworld series, the first of which, The Colour of Magic, was published in 1983. In all, he was the author of over fifty bestselling books. His novels have been widely adapted for stage and screen, and he was the winner of multiple prizes, including the Carnegie Medal, as well as being awarded a knighthood for services to literature. He died in March 2015.


Also by Terry Pratchett

See all

Praise for A Stroke of the Pen

This delightful collection is inventive, entertaining and a little quirky, often with a twisty end… a fun read


Expect comic fantastical fragments riffing on everything from cave people to Father Christmas.

Guardian, Best Books for Autumn

You always feel the push of the inimitable Pratchett behind them — funny, sharp, warm, wise and always so, so readable

Daily Mail

One for the completists


Biggest books for autumn

The Times

A treasure trove glittering with lost gems

Financial Times

This delightful collection is inventive, entertaining and a little quirky, often with a twisty end

Press Association

A new Pratchett! Clear the bestseller decks: this book is heading for the top.


Terry Pratchett’s short tales from the 70s and 80s reveal a young talent bursting with invention and wit… there’s much here to delight the open-minded, the fantasy aficionado and the Pratchett completist


Funny, fantastical and slyly smart

Mail on Sunday

The wit, wisdom and intelligence are interspersed with a lively dose of naivety, with entertaining results


A Stroke of the Pen shows [Pratchett] at a stage when he was stopping at the first or second tree. Soon he would plunge into the forest

The Sunday Times

Shows the beginnings of one of the UK’s best fantasy writers… A treat for seasoned fans and newcomers

The Sun, Pick of the Week *****

Enjoyable literary bonbons

i Paper

Delicious, bite-sized stories

My Weekly

A collection of 20 excellent, often laugh-out-loud early works. . . . Pratchett devotees will be moved and gratified by this unexpected gift and even casual readers will be utterly charmed. There isn’t a bad story in the bunch.

Publishers Weekly

These early stories show Pratchett’s remarkable ability to poke fun at the absurdity of the real world through fantasy full of irreverent wordplay, silly authority figures, and subverted endings. . . . Pratchett’s legion of fans will relish the view through this almost-overlooked window into the author’s evolution, finding much to love in these clever, funny, and tightly written tales.


A short and slightly bittersweet portrait of Pratchett as a young writer, as seen through this collection of long-lost and forgotten short stories. . . . They reflect an author in search of his craft, but there are hints of the Discworld to come. . . particularly in the standout story in the collection, ‘The Quest for the Keys’ . . . . The earliest seeds of what later became Discworld are there for readers who still miss his inimitable style.

Library Journal

A collection of lost stories from early in Pratchett’s career. . . . Several stories set in the fictional town of Blackbury have a genial, tall-tale feel, and the "proto-Discworld" in 'The Quest for the Keys' is a true treat

Kirkus Reviews