Sir Terry Pratchett will become the first-ever novelist to give the prestigious annual Richard Dimbleby Lecture on 1 February 2010. The lecture, named for the immensely well-respected BBC broadcaster (and father of Question Time host David Dimbleby), is given every year by a different figure. Past lecturers have included Prince Charles, Prince Philip, Richard Dawkins and Bill Clinton.
Pratchett's lecture will be entitled 'Shaking Hands With Death' and will explore how society needs to adjust to confront the needs of an increasingly large population of elderly people, many of whom will have health problems and all of whom are living longer than ever before. This is a subject dear to Pratchett's heart, as he was diagnosed with a variant form of Alzheimer's two years ago and admits it would have been difficult to pursue the treatments he has done without the financial back-up from the success of his Discworld series of novels.