Bloomsbury and Pottermore 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”.
The exhibition, which is a collaboration between Bloomsbury and the curators of the British Library, will “take visitors on a journey to where magic and myth began”, unveiling rare books, manuscripts and magical objects from the BL collection, “capturing the traditions of folklore and magic which underpin the Harry Potter stories”.
"See the gargantuan 16th–century Ripley Scroll that explains how to create a Philosopher’s Stone. Gaze at Sirius in the night sky as imagined by medieval astronomers. Encounter hand-coloured pictures of dragons, unicorns and a phoenix rising from the flames," invites the BL publicity.
Meanwhile original drafts and drawings by Rowling and her illustrator Jim Kay will also be among the exhibits.
The exhibition hardback will be “a comprehensive companion book”, with essays on the different sections of the exhibition by writers as diverse as writer Anna Pavord, journalist Lucy Mangan, naturalist Steve Backshall and astronaut Major Tim Peake.
The family-aimed paperback Harry Potter: A Journey Through a History of Magic will showcase selected items from the exhibition, and 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".
Both books will be published by Bloomsbury on 20th October, and will be for sale from general retailers as well as from the British Library. Pottermore will publish simultaneously in e-book, with the digital editions priced at £8.99/£5.99. Pottermore said the e-book of Harry Potter: The History of Magic "features enhancements allowing readers to navigate the contents of the exhibits in a variety of exciting and innovative ways".
The publication date is just a day after that of Philip Pullman's La Belle Sauvage (PRH Children's/David Fickling), on 19th October, making it a bumper week for children's books.
Tickets for the exhibition, being held as part of the celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone this year, are now on sale at www.bl.uk. “Harry Potter: A History of Magic” will run until 28th February 2018.