Steamroller crushes Pratchett's unfinished works

NEW YORK • British fantasy author Terry Pratchett had a wish fulfilled two years after his death: A hard drive containing his unpublished works was destroyed by a steamroller.

Pratchett, a wildly popular novelist who wrote more than 70 books, including the Discworld series, died at 66 in 2015.

That year, his friend, writer Neil Gaiman, told The Times of London that Pratchett had wanted "whatever he was working on at the time of his death to be taken out along with his computers, to be put in the middle of a road and for a steamroller to steamroll over them all".

Now, this has happened.

Pratchett's estate manager and close friend, Mr Rob Wilkins, posted a picture of a hard drive and a steamroller on Aug 25 on an official Twitter account they shared. Shortly thereafter, Mr Wilkins wrote that the deed was done.

Pratchett is not the first author to make such a request. Franz Kafka wanted his diaries, manuscripts and letters burnt. Eugene O'Neill wanted the publication and performance of Long Day's Journey Into Night to be delayed until 25 years after his death. Vladimir Nabokov left instructions that fragments of a manuscript be destroyed.

In all of these cases, the requests were ignored and the unpublished work came to light.

In Pratchett's case, the crushed hard drive will be displayed at an exhibition on his life and work, Terry Pratchett: HisWorld, which opens on Sept 16 at the Salisbury Museum in England.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 01, 2017, with the headline 'Steamroller crushes Pratchett's unfinished works'. Print Edition | Subscribe