Sotheby's sale for English PEN

Sotheby's sale for English PEN

Sotheby's will auction off a first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone with notes by J K Rowling to raise money for English PEN.

Rowling is one of 50 authors who will be auctioning first editions of their work to raise money for the free speech charity alongside writers including Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan, Seamus Heaney and Michael Morpurgo.

The sale, called First Editions, Second Thoughts, will take place at Sotheby's on 21st May.

Rick Gekoski, trustee of English PEN and curator of First Editions, Second Thoughts, said: "In 40 years in the rare book trade I have never seen a collection of books to compare with those in this sale. The self-scrutiny of the authors is highly considere—crafted, thoughtful and thought-provoking. And like works of literature themselves, their annotations give a peek into the soul of their maker. In many cases, the commentaries will
affect how the book is to be read and understood in the future."

Writers taking part were asked to "scribble second thoughts, marginalia or drawings throughout the work in whatever fashion moves you, thus singling out this particular first edition and making it even more desirable for a reader or collector to want to own". Many corrected or amended text in the books, while others added illustrations or made notes on the endpapers.

Examples include Hilary Mantel commenting on Wolf Hall: "Just for the record ­ I made up the affair between TC + his sister-in-law. Not without reason, but because it seems to reflect the semi-incestuous knot that Henry himself got into..." and Ian Rankin on Knots and Crosses: "I seem to remember I planned to kill Rebus off at the climax; glad now I changed my mind."

The works will be on public exhibition at the auction house on 20th and 21st of May before they are sold, and can also be viewed on the English PEN website.