Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, the second film in the five-film series, officially opened in cinemas today, after its magical, global premiere in Paris on Thursday, 8th November.

The film features an ensemble cast that includes Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller, Zoë Kravitz, Callum Turner, Claudia Kim, William Nadylam, Kevin Guthrie, Jude Law, and Johnny Depp.

Set in 1927, a few months after Newt Scamander helped to unveil and capture the infamous Dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald, and moving from New York to London and on to Paris, this story of mystery and magic reveals an extraordinary new chapter in the wizarding world. Lines are drawn as love and loyalty are tested, even among the truest friends and family.

The original screenplay of Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald also publishes today in line with the release of the film.

Newt Scamander’s Hogwarts Library classic Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has been brought to life with stunning illustrations by award winning artist Olivia Lomenech Gill. The colourful new edition is now published by Bloomsbury in the UK and Scholastic in the US

The award-winning artist has reimagined every beast in the textbook with a variety of different techniques, such as charcoal sketches and watercolours. You can see Olivia in action here.

Proceeds from the sale of these books will go to Comic Relief and J.K. Rowling’s own international children’s charity Lumos, which both help some of the world’s most vulnerable young people to have better lives.

To find out more and read an exclusive interview with artist Olivia Lomenech Gill, head over to Pottermore.

Pottermore revealed on 5th September that the 2015 illustrated print edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, featuring magnificent illustrations by award-winning artist Jim Kay, is now available as a Kindle in Motion eBook. Featuring never-before-seen animations, this is the first time that Jim Kay’s Harry Potter illustrations are available in a digital format.

The Kindle in Motion edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone can be read on any device with the Kindle app.

You can see Jim Kay’s beautiful illustrations brought to life, on pottermore.com. With moving portraits of Albus Dumbledore, flying snitches and fluttering keys this really is magic in motion.

Harry Potter UK publisher, Bloomsbury and the British Library are creating two magic-filled books to accompany this autumn’s exhibition Harry Potter: A History of Magic at the library in London, in celebration of the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Both books will publish in the UK on 20th October 2017- the day that the exhibition opens its doors to visitors in London.

Harry Potter: A History of Magic will be the official book of the British Library’s exhibition.

A collaboration between Bloomsbury and the brilliant curators of the British Library, the book promises to take readers on a fascinating journey through the subjects studied at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry – from Alchemy and Potions classes through to Herbology and Care of Magical Creatures.

Each chapter showcases a treasure trove of artefacts from the British Library and other collections around the world, beside exclusive manuscripts, sketches and illustrations from the Harry Potter archive. There’s also a specially commissioned essay for each subject area by an expert, writer or cultural commentator, inspired by the contents of the exhibition including Steve Backshall, the Reverend Richard Coles, Owen Davies, Julia Eccleshare, Roger Highfield, Steve Kloves, Lucy Mangan, Anna Pavord and Tim Peake, who offer a personal perspective on their magical theme.

Readers will be able to pore over ancient spell books, amazing illuminated scrolls that reveal the secret of the Elixir of Life, vials of dragon’s blood, mandrake roots, painted centaurs and a genuine witch’s broomstick, in a book that shows J.K. Rowling’s magical inventions alongside their cultural and historical forebears.

Another book, Harry Potter: A Journey Through a History of Magic will showcase selected items from the exhibition, aimed at a family audience. It too explores the subjects studied at Hogwarts, and will contain spellbinding facts and information behind the real history of magic, alongside activities inspired by these subjects, creating a rich and rewarding book for families to enjoy for years to come.

Pottermore, the global digital publisher of Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World, will simultaneously publish eBook versions of both books. The eBook edition of Harry Potter: A History of Magic also features enhancements allowing readers to navigate the contents of the exhibits in a variety of exciting and innovative ways.

Publishers Bloomsbury and Scholastic on Monday revealed two striking covers for the fully-illustrated edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which hits bookshops later this year.

Award-winning fine artist Olivia Lomenech-Gill, who has previously won the English Association Picture Book Award, has lent her skill to this new edition, which publishes on 7th November. Bloomsbury’s jacket features the Occamy while a Griffin appears on Scholastic’s. For more exclusive images of the beautifully illustrated beasts, head over to Pottermore.com

Proceeds from the sale of these books will go to Comic Relief and J.K. Rowling’s own international children’s charity Lumos, which both help some of the world’s most vulnerable young people to have better lives.

20 years after it was first published in the UK in 1997, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is to be translated into its 80th language – Scots!

Publisher Itchy Coo today announced that you will soon be able to read the Scots version of the first Harry Potter book, which will be published under the title Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stane in October 2017

Matthew Fitt is the translator of this exciting new edition of the story. Here’s a first look at the Scots translation:

Mr and Mrs Dursley, o nummer fower, Privet Loan, were prood tae say that they were gey normal, thank ye awfie muckle. They were the lest fowk ye wid jalouse wid be taigled up wi onythin unco or ferlie, because they jist widnae hae onythin tae dae wi joukery packery like yon.’

L-R: US Hardback (Scholastic, cover by Headcase Design); Digital audiobook (Pottermore, cover by Olly Moss); eBook (Pottermore), UK Hardback (Bloomsbury, cover by Jonny Duddle)

A new edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is available today, with six extra beasts and a new foreword from the pen of Magizoologist Newt Scamander, bringing the original classic book up to date with the exciting developments in J.K. Rowling’s  Wizarding World.

The hardback book is available from Bloomsbury in the UK and Scholastic in the US, while Pottermore brings us the eBook and the first digital audiobook, narrated by Eddie Redmayne.

Familiar to fans as one of the textbooks from Harry Potter’s days at Hogwarts, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was first published in 2001. The fictional book was ‘written’ by Newt Scamander – the hero of J.K. Rowling’s debut screenplay and the film of the same name.

Other Hogwarts Library books, Quidditch Through the Ages and The Tales of Beedle the Bard, have also been brought up to date with new covers.

Proceeds from the sale of these books will go towards Comic Relief and Lumos, J.K. Rowling’s international children’s charity. Both charities aim to help some of the world’s most vulnerable children and young people to have a better life.

Bloomsbury and Scholastic today revealed award-winning illustrator Jim Kay’s cover of the third book in the Harry Potter series.

The striking cover illustration reveals Jim’s imagining of the iconic Knight Bus that whisks Harry off to Diagon Alley at the beginning of the book, in all its purple glory. And you can see more of Jim Kay’s Azkaban artwork exclusively on Pottermore.com

This new illustrated hardback edition will be published in English on Tuesday 3rd October 2017.

Eddie Redmayne – Newt Scamander himself – has narrated Pottermore’s new audiobook version of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the Hogwarts textbook that inspired the film of the same name.

Like the print and eBook editions, also available on the 14th March, the digital audiobook will open with J.K. Rowling’s new foreword from Newt Scamander himself, hinting at some of what happened since his visit to New York City in 1926, and also promises six new beasts.

To find out more, and for a behind-the-scenes video with Eddie Redmayne, visit Pottermore.com https://www.pottermore.com/news/eddie-redmayne-recorded-the-new-fantastic-beasts-audiobook-as-newt-scamander

 

Image © Mary McCartney

Once upon a time, JKRowling.com was a cosy corner of cyberspace where I could share things I was writing, answer readers’ questions, debunk baseless press stories and be as serious or as frivolous as I fancied on any given day. However, when I finished writing the Potter books, my website fell into disuse. I spent a few years writing, not publishing, and enjoying the quiet. A few years ago I resurrected JKR.com, but I didn’t feel the same connection to the new design and it showed, because I hardly ever wrote anything for it.

So I decided to start over. I wanted to bring my website back to what it used to be: something real and personal. This is a faithful representation of my writing desk, except that I haven’t put on the bits of stale popcorn and biscuit crumbs that usually litter the surface. Everything looks a bit tidier and cleaner than it really is, but after all, it’s only polite to make an effort for guests. The various objects littered around really do live in my writing room; some of them have sentimental value, some are practical and others have found their way in via friends and family members.

I write in a room I built in my garden, at a wooden table just like this, with a view of lawn and trees. Family members have to decide whether they’re prepared to make the effort to put on shoes or find an umbrella to come and find me, which makes it the perfect distance from the house: I’m neither accessible enough to be bothered every time a Nintendo DS gets mislaid, nor so inaccessible that I can’t be inside the house and tending to a broken leg within thirty seconds.

(I’m married to a doctor, so yes, I accept that he might be the more logical choice to deal with the broken leg, but Neil might be at work when this happens. Or maybe it’s his leg that’s broken. All right, I accept this isn’t entirely rational: I’m a worrier.)

You’ll find my Twitter feed on here, because Twitter has become for me a nice way of interacting with readers in the website-free years. It also slakes my thirst for pictures of dogs and otters, political arguments and random connections with strangers, which are hard to come by when your profession demands that you sit alone in a room for many hours a day.

I haven’t forgotten the debunking function that I found so useful on my old website, though you might not find the button right away. You’ll also find links to some of the causes and charities I support, including my own charity Lumos, and my charitable trust, Volant.

2016 has been one of the busiest professional years of my life. I didn’t plan for the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them to come out in the same year, but that’s what ended up happening, with the result that 2016 meant an almost total re-immersion in the wizarding world. I’ve been absolutely delighted with the reception of both pieces: the stakes are always very high when you return to a well-loved creation, and after almost a decade of refusing to do spin-offs or remakes, I feel overwhelming relief that both long-time fans and newcomers have enjoyed what we’ve done. Pottermore.com, the digital hub for the wizarding world, does a great job catering for anyone who wants to dig deeper into that world.

Robert Galbraith, my crime writing alter-ego, remains active, and is currently working on his fourth. There’s no publication date as yet, given how busy 2016 has been, but I’m making steady progress. Cormoran Strike fans will be glad to know that filming has already started on the TV adaptation, starring Tom Burke as Cormoran and Holliday Grainger as Robin Ellacott.

With four more Beasts movies to come, I decided my Christmas gift to wizard-lovers should be to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about the plot of the new franchise. There’s also a bonus FAQ, an oldie about Chamber of Secrets that I’ve been asked at least once a week for nine years.

I hope you enjoy your visit and if I don’t see you again before the end of December, I wish you a very happy new year!

 

FAQs

1.     Why couldn’t Newt just Apparate to the USA? Why did he go by boat?
Apparition becomes increasingly risky over long distances. As with most magic, much depends on the skill of the spell-caster: Apparition requires knowledge of the terrain to which one is moving, or the ability to visualise it clearly. Cross-continental Apparition would almost certainly result in severe injury or death.

Moreover, the beasts in Newt’s case had varying magical natures. Some could have Apparated with him, but others could not.

2.    Why did Newt go in through No-Maj customs?
He was transporting magical creatures at a time when this was illegal. No-Majs were far easier to fool than the wizarding checkpoint would have been.

3.    Why couldn’t Newt use ‘Accio’ to retrieve all his beasts?
‘Accio’ only works on inanimate objects. While people or creatures may be indirectly moved by ‘Accio-ing’ objects that they are wearing or holding, this carries all kinds of risks because of the likelihood of injury to the person or beast attached to an object travelling at close to the speed of light.

4.    Why isn’t Veritaserum used in interrogations?
It is, but skilled wizards can avoid its effects by using antidotes and charms. A gifted Occlumens could also resist Veritaserum.

5.    Why did ‘revelio’ undo the effects of Polyjuice Potion?
It didn’t. Grindelwald’s Transfiguration surpasses that of most wizards, so he used a spell, not a potion, to take on the appearance of Percival Graves.

6.    Why didn’t Harry Potter develop an Obscurus?
An Obscurus is developed under very specific conditions: trauma associated with the use of magic, internalized hatred of one’s own magic and a conscious attempt to suppress it.

The Dursleys were too frightened of magic ever to acknowledge its existence to Harry. While Vernon and Petunia had a confused hope that if they were nasty enough to Harry his strange abilities might somehow evaporate, they never taught him to be ashamed or afraid of magic. Even when he was scolded for ‘making things happen’, he didn’t make any attempt to suppress his true nature, nor did he ever imagine that he had the power to do so.

And finally, an oldie but a perennial favourite…

7.    Why wasn’t the Horcrux inside Harry destroyed when he was bitten by the Basilisk in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets?

A Horcrux can only be destroyed if its container is damaged beyond repair. Harry was healed by Fawkes. Had he died, the Horcrux would indeed have been destroyed.

PS I’m being asked all kinds of excellent questions about Fantastic Beasts that I can’t answer right now, because the answers would give away too much about future plots. If your burning question isn’t here, you are probably safe to assume that it will be answered in the sequels!

 

Image © Tony Antoniou 

Further details of the exhibition at the British Library in 2017, to celebrate twenty years since the first publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, have been announced.

We’re delighted to confirm that the exhibition will be entitled Harry Potter: A History of Magic and will combine original material from the private archives of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury with centuries-old treasures from the British Library’s world-class collection, focusing on the theme of the History of Magic.

The structure of the exhibition has been inspired by the subjects Harry and his friends study at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, from Potions and Herbology to Astronomy and Care of Magical Creatures.

The exhibition will run from 20th October 2017 to 28th February 2018, at the British Library in London just a (Philosopher’s) stone’s throw from Platform 9 ¾ at King’s Cross Station!

For an interview with the British Library’s curator on Pottermore, please click here.

 

Holliday Grainger and Tom Burke on set  © The Cuckoo’s Calling Ltd   Photographer: Steffan Hill

Filming is now under way for the BBC One TV adaptation of Robert Galbraith’s Cormoran Strike series.  British actor Tom Burke will star as war veteran turned private detective Cormoran Strike, with Holliday Grainger playing his ever-enthusiastic assistant Robin Ellacott.

The Strike Series, which will air on BBC One, is based on J.K. Rowling’s bestselling crime novels, written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith: The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm, and Career Of Evil.

“I’m overjoyed to be immersing myself in the role of Cormoran Strike who is as complex as he is larger than life,” says Burke. “I know I’m joining an extraordinary team of people on a series that for me is peppered with moments of real emotional depth and meticulously grounded in the page-turning momentum of these novels. Cormoran’s world is rich and raw.”

“I’m thrilled to be joining the talented creative team behind ‘The Strike Series’, especially with the role of Robin Ellacott,” says Grainger. “Her grounded strength and intelligence is going to be a joy to explore. I can’t wait to dive straight into the wit and grit of Strike’s cannily well observed London.”

 

 

L to R:  Colin Callender, Jack Thorne, J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Sonia Friedman. Image © Dan Wooller

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the stage play based on an original story by J.K.Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, has won the Best Play at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards, whilst the production was nominated for eleven What’sOnStage theatre awards – more than any other production.

The Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Play was collected on 14th November 2016 by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne, who told Pottermore:

“This play was made with blood, sweat and love. Working on this show has been the greatest of things – and I know John, Jo and I could not have asked for better people to work with. The Cursed Child world is one of technical genius, acting greatness and producing prowess. This [award] is a cherry on top of a really elaborate, sugary, spicy, wonderful cake.”

Lead actress Noma Dumezweni collected the award with John and Jack on behalf of J.K. Rowling, reading out a short message from Jo: “I am incredibly proud of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but Jack Thorne and John Tiffany must take all credit for shaping and crafting it. My endless thanks to them.”

The production has also received no fewer than eleven nominations ahead of next year’s WhatsOnStage Awards.  Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two is up for Best Play, while five of its cast members have also been shortlisted.  Other category nominations include Best Direction, Best Costumes, and Best Set Design. The annual awards, which are voted for by the public, will be announced on 19th February 2017.

 

On Tuesday 14th April 2015, Little, Brown and Company published J.K. Rowling’s deeply affecting, celebrated 2008 Harvard commencement speech in book form, with new illustrations by Joel Holland. In Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination, J.K. Rowling asks the profound and provocative questions: How can we embrace failure? And how can we use our imagination to better both ourselves and others?

Drawing from stories of her own post-graduate years, the world-famous author addresses some of life’s most important issues with acuity and emotional force.

As well as contributing towards university-wide financial aid at Harvard University, sales of Very Good Lives will benefit Lumos, a non-profit international children’s organisation founded by J.K. Rowling, which works to end the institutionalisation of children around the world.

To find the book, please visit Little, Brown’s website.

Lumos – www.wearelumos.org

On Tuesday 21st May 2013 an annotated first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, containing J.K. Rowling’s personal annotations and illustrations, raised £150,000 for English PEN and for Lumos, J.K. Rowling’s own charity, when it was sold to an anonymous bidder at a Sotheby’s auction.

Other annotated first editions that were sold as part of English Pen’s First Editions Second Thoughts included Roald Dahl’s Matilda, annotated by Quentin Blake, We Need to Talk About Kevin, annotated by Lionel Shriver and Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse. A total of £439,000 was raised for English PEN. Click here for further information.

Lumos – www.wearelumos.org

J.K. Rowling’s new novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy is published in English.  She comments;

The Casual Vacancy is set in a small community, which involves writing characters who are adolescents all the way up to people in their sixties. I love nineteenth century novels that centre on a town or village. This is my attempt to do a modern version.  As a writer you have to write what you want to write; or rather what you need to write. I needed to write this book.”

When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock. 

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils… Pagford is not what it first seems. 

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations? 

The audio edition of The Casual Vacancy will be read by Tom Hollander, an experienced star of stage and screen.

J.K. Rowling will be talking about her new work at London’s Southbank Centre at 7.30pm UK time today, Thursday 27th September.  The event will be live-streamed on Southbank Centre’s Youtube channel.

J.K. Rowling was named Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur at a ceremony conducted by French President Nicolas Sarkozy in France, 2009.

Under normal circumstances, membership of the Legion d’Honneur is restricted to French nationals. However, foreign nationals who have served France or the ideals it upholds, may receive a distinction – which is held in the same high regard as Legion membership.

Image © Harvard Public Affairs & Communications. Photographer: Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

In June 2008, J.K. Rowling delivered the Commencement Address at the Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association. Her speech was titled, ‘The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination.’

She spoke of lessons learned from her own discoveries – of personal failure “on an epic scale,” – and quoted Plutarch, saying, “What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.”

Speaking to an attentive crowd, J.K. Rowling was forthright with her audience, about the nerves she’d felt prior to giving the Harvard Commencement Address:

“Now all I have to do is take deep breaths, squint at the red banners and convince myself that I am at the world’s largest Gryffindor reunion.”

She spoke of the benefits of failure and the crucial importance of imagination; pressing home the validity of one in realising ambition, and the consequence of pushing the boundaries of experience with the other.

“You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default. Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies.

“The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned.”

Her speech ended,

“We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better…”

The speech is available to watch on Harvard University’s Youtube channel, here.

 

Image © Reuters

In 2001, J.K. Rowling received the Order of the British Empire (OBE) from His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, for services to children’s literature.