Book:A Stroke of the Pen

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A Stroke of the Pen
First edition cover
Publisher Transworld
Publication date 5 October 2023
ISBN 9780857529633
Pages 272
RRP £20.00
Main characters
Series Books by Terry Pratchett
Annotations View
All data relates to the first UK edition.

A Stroke of the Pen is a collection of “lost” stories written by Pratchett for the Western Daily Press and Bucks Free Press newspapers between 1970 and 1984, under the pseudonyms Patrick Kearns and Uncle Jim. A few are revisions of stories which Pratchett had previously published, and which he later revised from the original version to be collected in Dragons At Crumbling Castle, The Witch's Vacuum Cleaner, Father Christmas's Fake Beard or The Time-travelling Caveman. The book features a foreword by Neil Gaiman and an introduction by Colin Smythe, plus an account by fans Pat and Jan Harkin of the research they did looking for the final serialised story, “The Quest for the Keys”, which uncovered many of the others.


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.


Foreword by Neil Gaiman

Introduction by Colin Smythe

  • “How It All Began...”
  • “The Fossil Beach”
  • “The Real Wild West”
  • “How Scrooge Saw the Spectral Light (Ho! Ho! Ho!) and Went Happily Back to Humbug”
  • “Wanted: A Fat, Jolly Man with a Red Woolly Hat”
  • “A Partridge in a Post Box”
  • “The New Father Christmas”
  • “The Great Blackbury Pie” (a revised version of “The Blackbury Pie”)
  • “How Good King Wenceslas Went Pop for the DJ’s Feast of Stephen”
  • “Dragon Quest” (an earlier version of “Dragons at Crumbling Castle”)
  • “The Gnomes from Home”
  • “From the Horse’s Mouth” (a revised version of “Johnno, the Talking Horse”)
  • Blackbury Weather”
  • “The Blackbury Jungle”
  • “The Haunted Steamroller”
  • “The Money Tree”
  • “The Blackbury Thing”
  • “Mr Brown’s Holiday Accident”
  • “The Quest for the Keys”

The Quest for The Quest for the Keys, by Pat and Jan Harkin

Text Acknowledgements


Placeholder art for initial announcement
First edition cover edition
Forbidden Planet edition
Collectors Edition
Collectors Edition Slipcase

External links