Sir Terry Pratchett OBE this weekend received an award in recognition of his services to Humanism at the annual conference of the British Humanist Association (BHA) in a ceremony held at the Leeds City Museum.
The BHA has a tradition of recognising the significant contributions people make every day to support those with no religion. The Services to Humanism award was established to highlight the work of individuals who campaign, who support our work in education, who extend thinking in the field of Humanism, and who challenge the privilege that religious organisations hold in society.
Sir Terry Pratchett is an internationally renowned writer whose books have sold over 85 million copies worldwide in 37 languages. Through his extensive body of work he has challenged and changed the way a generation thinks about the universe, heroism, and story-telling. It is for this but also for his personal fortitude and the example he has set – very publicly – of how a humanist deals with life’s darker times that the BHA recognises Sir Terry with the 2013 award for Services to Humanism. He has turned his personal suffering into a positive campaign: firstly to fund greater research into Alzheimer’s disease and secondly for the right to die with dignity. He has had an enormous impact on the public debate around that issue and showcased humanist values in doing so.
Terry joins the ranks of formidable humanists who have received previous BHA awards, including biologist Richard Dawkins, author Phillip Pullman, Journalist Polly Toynbee, Nigerian human rights activist Leo Igwe, evolutionary biologist Julian Huxley, and philosopher A J Ayer.