Bookshops, libraries and schools ready Harry Potter 20th birthday celebrations

Bookshops, libraries and schools ready Harry Potter 20th birthday celebrations

Bookshops, libraries and schools are preparing to mark the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone with quizzes, events and an attempt to break a world record.

Publisher Bloomsbury will be attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of people dressed as Harry Potter, in Bolton. The Lancashire town's School Library Services and several schools are aiming to gather over 600 students dressed as Harry Potter in one place.

Meanwhile 20 bookshops across the UK will be holding Harry Potter book quizzes during the school summer holidays. Exclusive to those bookshops taking part, the winning teams from each quiz will be invited to London to take part in a second quiz.

National Book Tokens is also offering Hogwarts House Edition Book Tokens online that can be personalised with the recipient’s name.

The British Library is set to curate and host a new exhibition "Harry Potter: A History of Magic" – aiming to capture the traditions of folklore and magic which are at the heart of the Harry Potter stories. Opening on 20th October 2017, it will be the first British Library exhibition inspired by a single series of books by a living author, publisher Bloomsbury said.

The exhibition will showcase the history of magic across the world, using an extraordinary range of wizarding books, manuscripts and objects, and combine fascinating treasures from the British Library’s collections with previously-unseen material from the Bloomsbury archives and personal items from J K Rowling.

Julian Harrison, chief curator for the exhibition, said: “We at the British Library are extremely excited to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone with our upcoming exhibition, 'Harry Potter: A History of Magic'. The Harry Potter books are such magical creations, and our exhibition is a marvellous opportunity to be able to examine the history and mythology that underpins them, from the creation of the Philosopher’s Stone to the cultivation of mandrakes. We can’t wait to welcome visitors when the exhibition opens in October, and for all our wonderful books and objects to go on show.”

A poll to find the nation’s favourite character from the Harry Potter series was also launched on Monday 12th June, with the winning character will be revealed by National Book Tokens on Monday 26th June.

That date marks the 20th anniversary of the first publication of Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Starting with an initial hardback print run of just 500 copies the series has now gone on to sell over 450 million copies worldwide in 79 different languages, Bloomsbury said. It has also inspired a major movie franchise and a theatre production.

Yesterday The Bookseller reported that an uncorrected proof of the book was bought for £10,000 at auction.