Knighthood stuns Pratchett

Terry Pratchett, the author of the Discworld series of novels that have sold more than 55 million copies worldwide, said he was "stunned, in a good way" after receiving a knighthood in the New Year's Honours List.

The 60-year-old writer, below, whose first book was published in 1971, told The Independent last night: "I'm having difficulty fitting it into my head. I'm very pleased indeed. It cheers me up no end." He added: "It will also impress some of my American friends, who started calling me 'Sir' after I received my MBE, which was a little embarrassing."

Though he has written works of science fiction and horror, Pratchett's greatest creation came with his first novel set in Discworld, a fantasy realm balanced on the backs of four elephants, which themselves stand atop a huge turtle.

"The Discworld series has been going on quietly but successfully for a long time now. I've gone all over the world with it," he said.

"I'm glad a genre writer has got a knighthood, but stunned that it was me."

The author has also made major donations to the Alzheimer's Research Trust after announcing that he had been diagnosed with the brain disorder last year.

Robert Plant, the lead singer of Led Zeppelin, was also made a CBE for services to music. The band, which has sold 300 million albums worldwide, reunited for a single show at London's O2 arena.

There was also an OBE for the actor Michael Sheen, acclaimed for his portrayal of Sir David Frost in the play Frost/Nixon. He has twice played Tony Blair, in The Queen and in Channel 4's drama The Deal.

"I am both thrilled and slightly mystified," said Sheen, 39. "But very grateful. It'll be nice to meet the real Queen at last."

Another to be honoured in the arts world was the British jazz musician Courtney Pine, who was made a CBE for services to music. The artist, who was playing a gig in the Netherlands last night, said he was "deeply moved", adding: "I never imagined that I would be recognised for playing improvised music in the United Kingdom in this way. Thank you, thank you, thank you."

The actress Betty Smith, known as Liz Smith, becomes an MBE. The 87-year-old found fame for her roles in The Vicar of Dibley and The Royle Family, in which she played Nana.

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea