Colin Smythe was born in Maidenhead in Berkshire in 1942, and was educated at Bradfield College near Reading and subsequently at Trinity College Dublin from which he graduated in 1963. In 1966 he sold his collection of the publications of W.B.Yeats, by that stage taking up about 65 feet of shelf-space, and started his publishing company, Colin Smythe Ltd, on the proceeds. He moved to Gerrards Cross in Buckinghamshire in 1967, and has been living there since. The company specialises in Irish literature, with books by or about authors such as W.B.Yeats, Lady Gregory, J.M.Synge, George Moore, G.W. Russell (better known by his pen-name ‘AE’), Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde, Oliver St John Gogarty, and William Carleton, and also on subjects such as the Irish epic myths, the fairy faith, ghosts, folklore, heraldry, orders of knighthood, diplomacy, politics, trout fishing, and parapsychology.
Colin Smythe is a visiting professor in the English Department of the University of Ulster at Coleraine, and also at the Universidade Moderna in Lisbon. For his services to Irish literature the University of Dublin conferred a Doctorate of Laws (honoris causa) on him in July 1998. He has edited and written various books, chiefly by or about Lady Gregory and her family. He also is agent for the literary estates of a number of Irish authors, including George Moore and Lady Gregory.
Colin is also a keen SF and fantasy reader, having been introduced to the works of Tolkien, Lewis, Edison and others at university. He met Terry Pratchett in 1968 and published Terry’s first book, The Carpet People, in 1971, along with his next four books, before coming to an arrangement with Victor Gollancz for subsequent works. Colin has also published fantasy works by William Barnwell and Hugh Cook.
Since 1987, CS has been acting as Terry Pratchett’s agent, which has involved him in a completely different world from the rather academic one he had been used to – and rather more interesting and challenging than publishing. This has involved him not only in the field of publishing, but in film, television, and merchandising, negotiating, acting as go-between not only between Terry and the companies involved, but also between the different companies, sending press cuttings to and answering questions from Pratchett fans all over the world for their school or university work - as well as fending off individuals hoping to make a quick buck out of what are very valuable properties. He also acted as the late Josh Kirby’s agent with responsibility for the Pratchett related pictures in the UK (for calendars, prints, jigsaws, etc).
Other than all that, Colin still collects books and occasionally writes articles on the subject. He still lives in Gerrards Cross with a couple of dogs, presently a black Labrador and a dark chocolate Great Dane. Colin's fascination with the paranormal, his long-standing love of SF and Fantasy, and his charming and debonair manner, make him one of the most versatile guests a convention could wish for.
More information about Colin Smythe can be found at his website.
Colin's fascination with the paranormal, his long-standing love of SF and Fantasy, and his charming and debonair manner, make him one of the most versatile guests a convention could wish for.
Profile by Anne M Kletcha