FANTASY author Terry Pratchett, who lives in Broad Chalke, has woven his magic again - by scooping an honorary doctorate from Buckinghamshire New University.

The Discworld novelist took to the stage at the Wycombe Swan with scores of other BNU students to accept the honour in recognition of his literary success.

Mr Pratchett, 60, said he was delighted with his doctorate yesterday - his sixth so far.

He also gave the keynote speech during the graduation ceremony on Tuesday, and told the students how he began his career after scoring top marks for a short story he wrote at school.

He said: "I thought, I wonder if I can sell this? I knew my aunt had a typewriter so I bribed her with a bunch of flowers, sent it off to a magazine and they paid me £40.

"So I bought a very good second-hand typewriter and that was it. I sold a few more stories and I decided that this was going to be for me."

He also recounted how, at the age of 17, he wrote to Arthur Church, then editor of the Bucks Free Press and asked for a job.

Mr Pratchett, who has made Broad Chalke his home for the past 15 years, told the assembled guests: "I went in my school uniform on Saturday morning and chatted to him, and I swear until my dying day that he said to me 'I like the cut of your jib young man', possibly the last person in the world ever to say it without being arrested."

His career as a journalist then led him into public relations, but he continued to write stories in his spare time, which he then sold.

He told the graduates: "One day I suddenly realised I was making far more money from my hobby rather than the job that was theoretically occupying my time.

"I thought about this at length and I hope you have this day in your lives. "There comes a moment of sheer joy when little blue birds come out of your ears and fly round and round your head and the sky goes all pink and you realise that you may never have to do an honest day's work again, for as long as you live."

Since that day Mr Pratchett, who announced in December he was suffering from a rare form of Alzheimer's, has gone on to write more than 50 books, which have sold millions of copies.

He closed his speech by making Ruth Farwell, BNU's vice chancellor, an honorary wizard of Unseen University from his Discworld books.

Dr Farwell was given a wizard hat to wear and handed her honorary scroll, badge and banana.