Bookshops weave some magic to mark Harry Potter’s 20th anniversary

Bookshops weave some magic to mark Harry Potter’s 20th anniversary

Bookshops around the country are unveiling a host of magical events — including Quidditch Pong, Harry Potter Bingo and Horcrux hunts—to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the publication of J K Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Bloomsbury) today (Monday 26th June). The first in the wizarding series has sold more than five million copies through the Nielsen Total Consumer Market and the author is responsible for 1% of all books sold in the UK since BookScan records began in 1998.

The Chicken and Frog Bookshop in Brentwood is one of the 20 bookshops selected from across the country by Bloomsbury to compete in a themed, family quiz. Co-owner Natasha Radford told The Bookseller she was delighted it would take place in the school library of Brentwood County High School. She said: “We wanted it to be surrounded by books. It’s going to be really exciting, I can’t wait. We’ve also asked each person taking part to donate £2 to Lumos [the international charity founded by Rowling].”The winning team from the quiz on 30th June will be pitted against other regional winners in central London in August.

Radford said she is anticipating a colourful show: “I’m hoping people will dress up. I will because I won’t be able to help myself. Whenever we do Harry Potter events they are really popular.”

Diss Publishing in Norfolk is encouraging children to come in their most creative wizarding gear for its celebrations on 26th June. Bookseller Christine Worby is organising a fancy dress competition and a Triwizard quiz, based on the Potter books’ Triwizard Tournament in which Hogwarts competes with two other European wizarding schools, as well as a treasure hunt involving “relics” from the books.

The Button & Bear bookshop in Shrewsbury is inviting children to “attend Hogwarts” via a personally addressed letter before they are “sorted” into the correct house and have the chance to create spells and take home a limited edition bag and a Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone house book. The owner of the store Louise Chadwick, formerly of BookTrust, is aiming the event at children aged from nine to 11 who are just beginning to discover Rowling’s books.

She told The Bookseller: “We are really excited to be taking part in these wonderful celebrations helping a new generation to discover the magic of Hogwarts and Harry Potter.”

More than 80 Waterstones stores across the country are also planning activities to mark the “phenomenon”. A spokesperson said: “The boy wizard’s magical world has given plentiful inspiration for events ranging from quizzes, owl mask-making and magic classes to Harry Potter Bingo and Horcrux hunts.”

Waterstones Aberdeen is planning a Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone-themed treasure hunt as well as an evening session of Quidditch Pong based on the broomstick sport while Waterstones Merry Hill branch in Dudley is planning an evening of storytelling which includes a game of Dread.

This will feature a Jenga tower, in which participants can cast a spell, buy some Butterbeer or run from a Acromantula (a giant spider that guards treasure hoards)—as long as they keep the tower standing. 

Carrying wands, 676 children gathered on the lawn at Smithills Hall, a Grade 1 listed building set in formal gardens next to the West Pennine Moors. Individually dressed in Gryffindor ties, round spectacles and with a lightning bolt scar, all 676 children were dressed according to the guidelines set by GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS. Organised to launch the 20th anniversary celebrations the attempt beat the previous record of 521 people.

Guinness World Records editor-in-chief, Craig Glenday said: “Congratulations to the 676 Potterheads for this magical achievement. Harry Potter continues to cast his spell on readers of all ages, and (sorting) hats off to JK Rowing for inspiring a new generation to pick up books and enjoy reading.”

Councillor John Byrne, Bolton Council’s Cabinet Member for Culture, said he was “thrilled” that Bolton played “such an important role in breaking this world record”.

“We love a challenge in Bolton so when it came to this opportunity, we knew that our children would rise to it. We have a wizard librarian who cast her spell to make this happen - Anne Burns has played an integral part in organising this and a massive thanks must go to her, along with all the children and teachers.”

Schools that took part in challenge in partnership with Bolton Library and Museum Services were: All Saints CE Primary School; Blackrod Church School; Claypool Primary School; Ladybridge Primary School; Ladywood School and Outreach Service; Pikes Lane Primary School; SS Peter and St Paul; St George's CE Primary School; St Gregory's RC Primary School; St John the Evangelist RC Primary School, and St Peters Smithills Dean CE Primary School.

Last week Bloomsbury and Pottermore revealed they will publish two new books this autumn for the British Library exhibition “Harry Potter: A History of Magic”, opening on 20th October.

"Previously unseen material from the Bloomsbury archive and J K Rowling" is promised for both titles, with Rowling's original drafts for the books set to be on display in the exhibition for the first time.

Harry Potter: A History of Magic, a £30 hardback with full-colour illustrations, will be the official book of the exhibition, while paperback Harry Potter: A Journey Through a History of Magic (£12.99) will be “aimed at a family audience”.