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1. Jack Thorne talks of working on “Cursed Child”

Playwright Jack Thorne has found himself thrust into the Harry Potter universe. Not only is he new to the insider world of of Harry Potter, but Thorne landed one of it’s most important roles, second to J.K. Rowling.

Jack Thorne wrote the script for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, in collaboration with J.K. Rowling and director, John Tiffany. He described his job to the Times as having “to crawl inside J.K. Rowling’s head,” something all serious Potter-heads dream of doing. The article talks of Thorne’s process in creating the story and working with Jo Rowling. If you have a subscription to the Times, the whole article will make a good read. Luckily, MuggleNet was able to access the article and offers a good preview:

When asked if he was ready for his life to change, pretty much a guarantee for any artist involved in bringing a Harry Potter project to the world, Thorne responded that he hasn’t experienced much of that – yet.

Everyone said that [it’s going to make me famous]. Everyone said: ‘Wait for the announcement. It’s going to change everything.’ Then I sent out a tweet on the morning, just going: ‘I can’t talk about it, but I’m so proud to be part of it,’ sort of thing and phoned up Rach [his wife] about an hour and a half later because I was in town, and I couldn’t see my computer, and I was like: ‘How many retweets has it got?’ Sort of: ‘Am I now famous?’ And she went: ‘It’s got six.’ So OK, fame hasn’t visited me yet.

A bit later on, the article reveals how Thorne came to be involved with the project.

The Harry Potter play’s producer, Sonia Friedman, saw Let the Right One In, about a boy befriended by a vampire, which Thorne had adapted for the stage from the hit Swedish movie. She approached its director, John Tiffany, who recommended Thorne. He worked with JK Rowling on the story and wrote the script, now safely encrypted in his computer. All anyone will say is that it is not a prequel. Thorne was fully conversant with the Potter universe having read all the novels and sneaked into the films wearing his Ghostbusters T[-]­shirt to show the families he was ‘here for the genre’.

And finally, although Thorne doesn’t divulge any plot elements of Cursed Child, he does reveal a bit about his process of working on the play and what collaborating with J.K. Rowling is really like:

I’ve now had to read every book again and work out what spells do what. The detail that she produced is absolutely sensational. Looking back at The Fades I kind of go: ‘I wish I’d sketched the world even larger, the way that she did with Harry Potter.’ I just didn’t want to challenge the audience too much with too much stuff, so I was: ‘Always keep it simple.’ And actually, Jo doesn’t, and that’s what makes her so special. That’s the great thing about doing adaptations: you just learn so much. My job is to crawl inside her head.

Pottermore retweeted Harry Potter Play’s ticket announcement yesterday. It has bee confirmed that tickets for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will go on sale this fall. Those who have signed up for the Cursed Child email alerts are considered “priority members.” Tickets will be available to “priority members” before being released to the general public. Registration for priority booking is available on the play’s website.

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2. Daniel Radcliffe Joins the Cast of Upcoming FBI Thriller ‘Imperium’

Deadline reports that Daniel Radcliffe has been signed to play the lead role in a new FBI thriller, Imperium, from Atomic Features and Tycor International Film Company. According to Deadline:

“Radcliffe will star as a young FBI agent who goes undercover to find and stop white supremacists trying to make a dirty bomb. It’s based on the experiences of Michael German, an FBI undercover agent who spent years inside United States neo-Nazi and militia groups.”

The film, which is based on real events, is set to start filming in the fall. Imperium will be the feature film directorial debut of short film director, Daniel Ragussis. The script is co-written by Michael German and Ragussis. Imperium will be produced by Ty Walker, Dennis Lee and Simon Taufique.

With Imperium added to Radcliffe’s schedule, he is sure keeping busy. Later this year, Radcliffe can be seen in Fox’s Frankenstein retelling, Victor Frankenstein. In addition to that, Radcliffe is currently filming Swiss Army Man, an indie comedy with Paul Dano. In 2016, Radcliffe will make an appearance on television in an upcoming BBC2 TV film Game Changer as the co-founder of the Rockstar Games company Sam Houser.

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3. Happy 50th Birthday J.K. Rowling, Happy 35th Harry!

Today marks a mile stone of great celebration for our most beloved author. As Jo Rowling turns 50 today, we all feel like the entire world should be celebrating just wizards celebrated Harry’s victory over Voldemort (twice)! Celebrations that spill out into the streets, and make ignorant muggle folk ask “why?”.

J.K. Rowling told the Today Show last spring that she would indeed be celebrating her 50th birthday with family and friends. She did not cringe, as so many do, when asked about her age, but said it was a time of celebration, for the alternative to aging is “checking out,” and she had so much more like left to live. She updated her Twitter this morning, thanking everyone for the birthday messages; she is enjoying the sun (beach?) with her dog, family and friends…and some fans!

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We wish we were there to celebrate with her, too!

Today, many honor all of the great deeds Rowling has accomplished in her life thus far. We also celebrate all of the greatness yet to come. Entertainment Weekly posted a list of the 50 reasons they love Jo, and we quite agree. (Digital Spy supplemented 9 also very valid reasons to love our Harry Potter author.)

For item #20, EW included a 60 Minutes video of Jo from many, many years ago, posted by Leaky (with the old leakynews.com address stamped in the corner). Here are a few of our favorites out of their list of 50 amazing Jo moments:

1. She does not suffer bullies.

2) She’s funny. Her Twitter feed is rife with sly humor, whether she’slaughing at herself for typos, rolling along with followers’ jokes orgetting exasperated by Harry Potter rumors.

3) She’s filling in the Potter story on Pottermore.

4) She gives huge donations to charity (so much that it knocked her off Forbes’ billionaires list).

In 2012, Jo donated an estimated $160 million, and paid all of her hefty taxes (supporting the economy and government of her home country, rather than hiding money in off shore bank accounts). How can you not love her for that?

5) She touts great social causes on social media. As just one example, she recently tweeted support for imprisoned Saudi Arabian blogger Reif Badawi and Ireland’s legalization of gay marriage.

7) She’s kind to her fans, and always seems ready to answer their questions, no matter how random or specific.

8) She admits she made mistakes in the books!

13) She cares about children in need. In 2004, she founded the organization Lumos, to help children who have been unfairly institutionalized get better care.

15) She did her research when coming up with the names of spells (she looked at alchemy, the history of languages, etc.)

She did the same for wands, names of characters, and book titles!

17) She supports Hufflepuffs and has written on Pottermore that she thinks they’re the best.

20) She’s a great artist. Although all the editions of Harry Potter have used other illustrators, Rowling’s not bad at sketching her own characters. Recently, an annotated version of Sorcerer’s Stone with Rowling’s sketches was auctioned for charity.

24) She’s invited die-hard fans to her house.

26) She never talks down to her readers.

27) She proved anyone can take control of their life. At one time, Rowling has said, she was “literally as poor as you can get in Britain without being homeless.” Thanks to work ethic and imagination, she went on to become a celebrated author.

30) She’s completely mastered Twitter, and for someone who very rarely makes public appearances, she makes herself accessible to her followers.

34) She hasn’t read50 Shades of Grey

36) She once gave the best commencement speech we’ve ever heard.

38) She says that she’d want to be sorted into Gryffindor (and specifically answered Pottermore questions so she’d be sorted that way).

46) She owns a “Horcruxes Got Soul” t-shirt

49) She’s fighting to save the BBC.

50) She made Hogwarts tuition-free and subsidized by the Ministry of Magic so all witches and wizards could attend. Imagine if the Weasleys hadn’t been able to afford it!

Please read and enjoy the entire list on EW. Time magazine also decided to do something special for J.K. Rowling’s birthday. In honor of the 17 years it took her to complete one of the best (if not THE best) books series in the world, Time contacted 17 Harry Potter actors, and asked them to write brief birthday messages to Jo.

Many of them are absolutely hilarious, Matt Lewis and Natalia Tena’s messages are rather long and touching. Evanna’s was by far the longest, and she shared her experience of meeting Jo for the first time. These and many more can be read on the Time’s website. We have shared a few, short funny ones; take a look below:

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As it is well known, it is also Harry Potter’s birthday today. Harry turns 35. Working as head Auror (and the youngest to ever attain the position, at age 26) for Kingsley Shakelbolt’s Ministry of Magic, Harry continues to make defeating evil apart of his daily work. Harry is happily married, and a family man. He and Ginny will be sending their youngest, Albus Severus off to Hogwarts in a couple years.

Harry is forever the heart of the wizarding community and the wizarding world as we know it. His story will forever be a part of our lives–in our imaginations and in real life. We honor Harry today for his bravery, loyalty, and goodness. Just like his creator (Jo), his large heart shows goodness in small ways, as well as large.

Today, we not only honor the character who saved the wizarding world, but who also ensured Severus Snape’s portrait hung in the Headmaster’s office, made peace and acquaintanceship with Draco Malfoy, and occasionally has mini-family reunions with Dudley.

A Harry Potter fan on staff at the Telegraph wrote her own personal anecdote as to how Harry would be celebrating his birthday today. Not unlike his creator, he is happily surrounded by family and friends. Alice Vincent writes for the Telegraph:

It’s the summer holidays now, so James, Albus and Lily are all back home. Before he’s even able to put on his wire-framed, round glasses, Harry is woken up by them. Specifically, he’s woken up by a floating cake – a fun charm by Ginny, who has inherited her mother’s impressive domestic skills. Unfortunately, it brings back unpleasant memories for Harry, who at 15 risked expulsion from Hogwarts, after Dobby the House Elf dropped a cake on a family friend (an illegal use of underage magic for which he must take responsibility).

Thankfully, he is swiftly distracted by a flurry of owls, descendents of his beloved Hedwig, who died during his final year. They are delivering parcels from his friends, Hermione and Ron, now a married couple with two children, Hagrid, and his in-laws, Molly and Arthur Weasley.

Later, after Harry’s spent the day dealing with dark magical forces – and admin – they’ll all meet up at 12 Grimmauld Place for a bit of a party.

The Scamanders, [Rolf] and Luna (née Lovegood) and their twins Lorcan and Lysander, will be in attendance, along with Neville and Hannah Longbottom and some friends from the Ministry of Magic. As deputy head of Department of Magical Law Enforcement, it can be difficult for Hermione to get away from work. But she’s made an exception this evening, as Ron is bringing along the newest stock from the family joke shop, Weasley’s Wizarding Wheezes, and the newest generation of Weasleys, Hugo and Rose, want to see their cousins.

Perhaps surprisingly, Harry keeps contact with his own cousin, Dudley. A birthday card arrived by Muggle post just this morning, with a rather perfunctory message.

When the celebrations are over, Harry will get back to what he usually does in his free time: flying around with his children.

In a less sentimental, in true standup-comedy fashion, Jimmy Fallon acknowledged Harry’s birthday with a “Drunk Ron Weasley” segment. The video can be seen on the Tonight Show’s Facebook page. Pottermore also tweeted a list of Harry’s best and worst birthday gifts over the years.

It is a day for cakes, Butterbeer, and Weasley Wizard Weazes. A collaboration of food artists have come together to bake a collection of sweets for the occasion. The group calls themselves “Birthday Mischief Managed.” Newswire reported:

The group, founded in July 2014, proudly honors some of the world’s most esteemed personalities and award winning artists in the food industry. Audiences may recognize work styles and faces of the participants from hit television series and competitions Cake Boss: Next Great Baker, Sugar Dome, Cake Wars, Ultimate Cake Off, Outrageous Chocolate, Halloween Wars, and more. Each member was asked to join based on their fanatic for the project and to “dress” for the occasion!

To celebrate J.K. Rowling’s birthday on July 31st, which coincidentally is Harry Potter’s birthday, the members of the group chose locations inspired by the books, movies, and Pottermore. Members were given artistic freedom to create original edible fan art celebrating or jinxing the birthdays of J.K. and Harry. An added challenge included incorporating 1-3, twists, “Easter Eggs” for J.K. and fans to find. Some of the sentiments include J.K.’s birthstone, birth month and favorite flowers (the Larkspur and Lily), and an orange support ribbon in memory of her mother.

Birthday creations by food artists and young fans can be see on their website. Maybe some of their Harry Potter themed desserts will inspire you to create your own!

We hope many of you will be throwing your own Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling birthday parties. All those celebrating with Melissa Anelli at GeekyCon have officially made July 31 “Geek Day” in Orange County, FL. Please share with us how you are celebrating today, and please join us in wishing J.K. Rowling and Harry Potter a very happy birthday!

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4. Get the Word out about Your #SummerLearning Successes!

You work hard all summer to provide teens with a variety of activities to help them learn and grow.  But chances are, your elected officials do not know about the great work you do and what it means to teens and to the community.  So, it's up to you to show them!  Elected officials need to know about the vital role libraries play in helping teens succeed in school and prepare for college, careers and life.  Without this knowledge, they will not be able to make informed decisions regarding key pieces of legislation, such as the Elementary & Secondary Education Act (ESEA) or the Library Services & Technology Act (LSTA).  District Days--the time when members of Congress are back in their home states--are the perfect chance for you to show off all the great things you do for and with teens through your library, by inviting your Congressperson to come and visit any time between Aug. 1 and Sept. 6, 2015.  You could also bring your teen patrons to them at their local office.  YALSA's wiki page has everything you need to extend your invitation, plan for a visit, and be a great host!  Your teens are relying on you to speak up for them, so be sure to seize this opportunity.  Then, tell us how it goes by sending photos and information using the #act4teens hashtag.

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5. “Career of Evil” Available for Pre-Order

This spring, J.K. Rowling announced that her good pal, Robert Galbraith, would be releasing his third Cormoran Strike novel. Though the other novels in the mystery series were released during the summer season, Career of Evil will be hitting shelves this fall (October 20th in the US, and October 22nd in the UK).

Amazon has recently made the new mystery novel available for pre-order. Hardcover copies of the novel, Prime eligible for free shipping October 20, have already been marked down 37% on the American Amazon. The cover price of the novel is $28.00, saving consumers $10.22 before the book is even published. Amazon has also made the Kindle format available for pre-order.

The summery on Amazon (from Galbraith’s website) reads:

When a mysterious package is delivered to Robin Ellacott, she is horrified to discover that it contains a woman’s severed leg.
Her boss, private detective Cormoran Strike, is less surprised but no less alarmed. There are four people from his past who he thinks could be responsible–and Strike knows that any one of them is capable of sustained and unspeakable brutality.
With the police focusing on the one suspect Strike is increasingly sure is not the perpetrator, he and Robin take matters into their own hands, and delve into the dark and twisted worlds of the other three men. But as more horrendous acts occur, time is running out for the two of them…
Career of Evil is the third in the highly acclaimed series featuring private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott. A fiendishly clever mystery with unexpected twists around every corner, it is also a gripping story of a man and a woman at a crossroads in their personal and professional lives.

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6. J.K. Rowling on TLC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?”

An episode of the genealogy show, Who Do You Think You Are?, featuring J.K. Rowling will make its American television debut this Sunday, August 2 at 9 PM EST on TLC.  While TLC is touting this as a premier, it is actually a reworking (if not a complete rerun) of an episode that debuted on BBC One on August 17, 2011.

According to the New York Times, the TLC episode will investigate Rowling’s family history in France, on her mother’s side.

She learns, among other things, that a family story about a grandfather who won a high honor in France wasn’t quite right.

This sounds strikingly similar to an account of the episode from BBC One’s Who Do You Think You Are? from The Daily Mail in August 2011.

Her great-grandfather then led the small team tasked with protecting the rest of the unit in retreat. Miss Rowling said she was ‘proud’ of Valont, ‘a waiter’ who had little more than two weeks training but became a ‘war hero’.

The Telegraph also wrote an extensive review of the BBC One episode that mentions the mistaken family legend.

Rowling did, however, consent to appear on BBC One’s genealogical series Who Do You Think You Are? In it she learnt that her French great-grandfather had not, contrary to family legend, been awarded the Legion d’honneur, but had none the less been decorated for his bravery in the First World War…

Anyone who saw an online video of the original episode (J.K. Rowling had a link on her website) can probably miss the one on TLC on Sunday; but then again, it may be worth another look.  Rowling saw the BBC One episode as momentous, and a follow-up article in Who Do You Think You Are? magazine mentions a part of Rowling’s story that was left on the cutting-room floor.

When I asked Jo if there’s anything she wishes the programme had followed up, she says: “Yes, I would love to know who my great grandfather’s father was.  He was illegitimate, but his mother fell pregnant while working as a maid next door to the notoriously promiscuous French writer Guy de Maupassant.  A girl can dream…”

Perhaps something new has been added in four years.  The cut scene was made available to magazine subscribers; maybe TLC viewers will get to see it too.

Find out more about the TLC program here and learn about the BBC One program here.

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7. New Photos Released of Emma Watson in ‘Colonia’

Earlier this week, Toronto International Film Festival website announced a large portion of its official line-up for the festival starting on September 10. Included in the line up is Colonia, a thriller directed by Florian Gallenberger, starring Emma Watson and Daniel Brühl.

Playlist writes that Colonia:

“tells the story of Lena and Daniel, a young couple, who become entangled in the Chilean military coup of 1973. Daniel is abducted by Pinochet’s secret police and Lena tracks him to a sealed off area in the South of the country, called Colonia Dignidad. The Colonia presents itself as a charitable mission run by lay preacher Paul Schäfer but, in fact, is a place nobody ever escaped from. Lena decides to join the cult in order to find Daniel. “

The script for Colonia is co-written by Gallenberger and Torsten Wenzel. The film is produced by Benjamin Herrmann and Nicholas Steil. Colonia will premiere as part of the TIFF Special Presentations Program.

Both Playlist and Firstshowing.net have released three first look photos from the film.

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Earlier this year, we reported that Emma Watson shared her experience of playing this role in Colonia. She talked of how the role challenged her as an actress. For more information on Colonia, visit the official TIFF page designated for it.

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8. OKREAL’s Exclusive Interview with Bonnie Wright

OKREAL, a new website “that gives you the tools to choose your life,” sat down for an exclusive interview with Bonnie Wright (Ginny Weasley). Bonnie Wright was selected as one in a range of women the site talks to about their successes and how they achieved them, but most of all what is important to them.

Bonnie Wright talked of discovering the difference between being what people expected of her, and being her true self. The article focused on Bonnie’s success as a story teller and post-Potter work, refusing to introduce her as the girl who played Ginny Weasley in the Harry Potter series.

It is true, Bonnie has taken on many impressive projects since her Potter days, successfully creating an independent image of her self. Like many of her Harry Potter co-stars, Bonnie still discussed how Harry Potter played a role in her life then and now–dancing the tango between their love and appreciation for what the series brought them, and breaking out of the mold their 10-year roles created for them.

In the interview conducted by OKREAL founder, Amy Woodside, Bonnie said:

I graduated film school 3 years ago. Since then, slowing down and figuring out what I actually want to do has taken a lot longer than I thought it would. Harry Potter was 10 years of my life, and when you finish a huge chapter like that, it’s this exciting new phase where you want to do new things.

With any career, creative or otherwise, there’s always more to learn and always room to evolve. It’s not about finding a finite point when you’re all done. It’s a continuum: nothing is ever secure or fully realized. People might think because of my experience, I’m all set. But just because you’ve had that kind of privilege, doesn’t mean it’s always going to work in your favor. You have to respect the times when it does and respect the times when it doesn’t. Sometimes people will pigeonhole you, or won’t listen because they assume you have it all figured out. And it’s like, actually, no, I don’t.

It’s taken me a long time to have confidence in writing and directing. I thought—people see me as an actress, so that’s what I should be doing. Also, having grown up with people constantly liking the work that we were doing, it’s taken me a while to learn how to take compliments. There was always this enthusiasm, ‘Oh my god, I love you. I love Harry Potter.’ Which makes it hard to accept any encouragement as genuine.

It’s a doing thing. And it goes so fast, if you don’t experience it at the time, it’s gone before you know it. Often you’ll build up some destination or end point… you’ll have this vision of the feeling that you’ll have when you get there. Like this script I just finished, I thought I’d feel relief and that it would be so great. But the reality is, I finished it and felt unsure about it. The idea of the destination and the reality of the destination are often very different. It’s a theme in this feature that I’m writing, where the main character is living in New York City. It’s not about the place she’s going, it’s the moments in between that she’s missing, because she’s too busy thinking about how she’ll feel when she gets there.”

Upon completing film school, Bonnie Wright has appeared in several independent films, written and directed various short films, taken on the role as a charity ambassador, and is the lead actress in The High is for Gamblers. Bonnie had much more to tell Ms. Woodside about all that she is involved in. Please read the entire interview on OKREAL. You can learn more about OKREAL by visiting their Twitter and Instagram (@heyokreal), or their Facebook page.

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9. 2015 Simmons Summer Institute: Homecoming

What an invigorating weekend here on the Simmons College campus, as current students, alums, authors, illustrators, teachers, librarians, academics, booksellers, book lovers, etc., etc., etc., came together for the 2015 Summer Children’s Literature Institute: Homecoming. Some highlights are below, and in no particular order. We know. We tried to make it brief. But we just couldn’t. Sorry not sorry.

Shoshana:

Though Michelle H. Martin, who’d taught the longer Symposium class, was unfortunately unable to attend the weekend Institute, Cathie Mercier, director of the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College, read a brief message from Michelle and then opened the floor to her students, who stepped up and opened the Institute with a glimpse into the work they’d done in her class. We heard astute comparisons between seemingly disparate books, and more about those books’ reflections of home. It was a reminder of the depth of analysis that’s common here at Simmons, and should have been required listening for anyone with any doubts that children’s literature is a serious field of study.

Bright and early on Saturday morning, Vicky Smith, children’s and teen editor at Kirkus Reviews, moderated a panel with illustrators Shadra Strickland, Hyewon Yum, and David Hyde Costello, citing images of home from each panelist’s work and asking about the thoughts behind the images. We learned that Shadra feels it’s important to show children of color in happy, whimsical settings; that Hyewon remembers leaving home to start school but now identifies more with the mother being left at home; and that David thought hardest about a minor character in Little Pig Joins the Band. All three illustrators’ work had enough images of home — some comforting and some unsettling — to drive home (ha!) the importance, especially in childhood, of having a familiar place to return to.

I attended several of the Master Seminars that were offered throughout the weekend. Lauren Rizzuto’s seminar examined the politics of sentiment in children’s literature, and the valuing of emotion both within texts and in response to texts. Amy Pattee borrowed Cathie’s impossible and totally unfair often-difficult exercise of asking those present to divide themselves into those who emphasize books and those who emphasize readers. From those perspectives, we examined some critically successful books and some that were popular in terms of sales, and discussed what each metric values. Jeannine Atkins shared some thoughts about what makes a verse novel work, offering specific, technical advice as well as larger observations. I left Lauren’s seminar feeling a bit more justified in my own feelings of affection toward literary characters; Amy’s with a greater understanding of how my bookselling past informs my thinking; and Jeannine’s with a few ideas of my own.

Joan Tieman, Susan Bloom, and Barbara Harrison.

Joan Tieman, Susan Bloom, and Barbara Harrison at the post-lecture reception.

On Friday night Barbara Harrison and Gregory Maguire turned the Mary Nagel Sweetser Lecture into a two-voice, three-act play about a subject dear to many of our hearts: the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College. Harrison, the Center’s founder, and Maguire, its first graduate, performed the story of how they got here and how the Center developed. That story, of course, included quotes from quite a few children’s books, words that many of us at Simmons have heard echoing in our ears. Between that and the photos of some familiar faces in bygone years, it was quite the multimedia presentation, and struck a chord with many in the audience.

On Saturday night Jack Gantos gave the most straightforward presentation I’d ever heard from him. It took us back to his childhood home; climbed stairs and trudged through snow to his writing home at the Boston Athenaeum; and scrawled its way through his writing process, but there were no leaps this time to, say, a hypothetical mausoleum. Instead, he connected his thoughts back to the idea of home so relentlessly, the repetition was almost as big a joke as the other actual jokes peppered throughout the speech. Jack Gantos can home in on one idea…who knew?

On Sunday morning M. T. Anderson recalled his adventurous travels abroad, featuring miscommunications that resulted from his learned-from-opera French and a fight with feral cats over a poorly prepared chicken. He realized it might be easier to instead write about places he’d never seen and extrapolate based on books and maps, an epiphany that resulted in the highly creative version of Delaware that appears in some of his books. We were even treated to his rendition of Delaware’s anthem.

Elissa:

Roger Sutton talks with Bryan Collier.

Roger Sutton talks with Bryan Collier.

Friday morning, Bryan Collier, in conversation with Roger — and both in snappy bow ties! — talked about his Maryland hometown (and the chicken farms that he knew were not a part of his future plans). Growing up he was an athlete but also an artist. He didn’t know any other artists, so he left home to find some. The prolific illustrator talked about the work ethic involved in creating art, and he compared creativity to a body of water: some people dip in a toe, some wade in, and others will “jump off a cliff, backwards.” “What do you do when you feel like you’re drowning?” asked Roger. “Trust it. Surrender,” he said. (And speaking of liquids: later I was sitting next to Bryan, in his slick beige suit, and terrified I’d spill my iced coffee on him. Didn’t happen. Phew!)

Kwame Alexander.

“Tall, dark, and handsome” Newbery winner Kwame Alexander.

Horn Book intern Alex introduced 2015 Newbery Award winner (for The Crossover, like I had to tell you that) Kwame Alexander to the crowd, forgetting the salient point — as the man himself was quick to point out — “Kwame Alexander is tall, dark, and handsome.” He is also an amazing speaker, as everyone who was at this year’s CSK Breakfast and Newbery-Caldecott Banquet already knows, both hypnotizing the audience with his confident flow of words and keeping them on their toes, with brains a-buzzing (there was some audience participation involved).

Rita Williams-Garcia.

Rita Williams-Garcia. And yes she is (see quote above).

And how do you follow a speech that is by turns hilarious, heart-breaking, thought-provoking, swoon-worthy (those ladies at church never had a chance), eye-opening, electric, improvisatory…etc. etc.? First, with a standing ovation. Then with a talk by Rita Williams-Garcia, who talked to…herself. Williams-Garcia played the parts of both present-day Rita and thirty-three-year-old (“the age of Jesus”) Rita, discussing her work, her views, her past, future, and in-between times. She talked about the effect The Horn Book’s words had on her — “Rita Williams-Gracia may well turn out to be among the most prominent African-American literary artists of the next generation” — and her evolving thoughts on book awards, who-can-write-for-whom?, and the n-word. It was moving. And deep. And we don’t even mind that Big Ma wasn’t based on a real person.

Martha:

Editor Neal Porter and artist Laura Vaccaro Seeger (whose art was on display in Simmons’s Trustman Gallery all weekend) took us, step by step, through her creative process — with the added bonus that we also got an illuminating glimpse into their working relationship. They shared (mostly late-night) emails, the journals in which Laura loosely brainstorms ideas (but retroactively goes back and gives tables of contents — she’s a born organizer, apparently), and how three of her picture books came to be: Green; a new book coming out this September called I Used to Be Afraid; and a work in progress, a companion to Green called Blue. As usual, their affection and respect for each other permeated the presentation, whether Laura was demonstrating the challenges of using die-cuts or Neal was exhorting the value of the printed picture book. To paraphrase: No one has yet come up with a more efficient format for telling a story in words and pictures than a picture book you can hold in your hand. It’s all about the page turns, and swiping through an e-book doesn’t provide that. (And his analogy — something about slapping an iPad with a dead fish in order to “page” through a picture book? — is pretty hard to get out of your mind.)

Katie:

Molly Idle.

Molly Idle, an artist from age three.

Molly Idle doesn’t write presentation notes, but she doesn’t need to — charming, high-energy, and insightful, she captivated the crowd. (One tweet read, “I think everyone here has a crush on Molly Idle right now. I know I do” to which Molly herself replied, “It’s a mutual admiration society. :)” How great is that?) She talked about her trajectory from animation to illustration, how becoming an illustrator felt like a kind of homecoming, and the logistics of sharing studio space with her family. I was lucky enough to get to pick her brain about how illustration is like dance — “If you could just say it, you wouldn’t need to draw it!” — at dinner afterwards.

Moving from commune to commune during her childhood, Emily Jenkins (a.k.a. E. Lockhart) found home in books and in shared reading experiences that represented stability in her otherwise uprooted life. As a result of her nomadic upbringing, she came to believe that home is not a nostalgic place to return to (i.e., your parents’ house) but rather something you make for yourself every day. She went on to examine some fascinating examples of literary independent children, such as Pippi Longstocking and the Boxcar Children, and how they create home for themselves. Emily closed with a moving passage from her book Toys Come Home:

“Why are we here?” asks Plastic.
“We are here,” says StingRay, “for each other.”
Oh.
Of course we are.
Of course we are here for each other.

Elaine Dimopoulos, debut author of fashion-meets-dystopian novel Material Girls, is really super smart. (She’s also a grad school classmate and good friend of mine, so I am probably a little bit biased. But even Emily Jenkins says Elaine is “crazy smart.”) Elaine discussed the ways that the traditional narrative structures of home–away–home (for younger kids’ fiction) and home–away (for YA) are no longer realistic, and offered some solutions to help writers get grown-ups out of the picture and allow child/teen characters some breathing room. Elaine also told us the story of how, as a Simmons grad student, she introduced speaker M. T. Anderson at the 2005 Summer Institute (and how it changed her life), as well as a little about being a Writer in Residence at the BPL.

And that was it! You know, just all that. There was a wrap-up by Cathie and Megan Dowd Lambert, and everyone went *home* (or wherever), recharged, refreshed, rejuvenated. For a recap in verse (and in homage), check out Shoshana’s “Good Night, Paresky Room.”

See you in two years…

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10. France wins the First European Games!

It came down to a classic and historic rivalry: the French versus the British. There were a few casualties–the French first string keeper broke his shoulder–but the “really tough, really intense” game ended on a fair Snitch snatch, leaving the French with the champion title after a 90-50 win.

Representatives from each team spoke to The Guardian, happy with the results of the tournament. All are hoping that the success of the first European Games brings Quidditch a higher profile and encourages involvement in the sport. The Guardian reports:

Dennis Jordan, captain of the French side, on Sunday said both sides played a “really tough, really intense game”. “Our main keeper was injured and broke his shoulder; he’s now in the ambulance. It was a legal tackle; both teams played aggressively but within the rules,” he said from the sidelines.

Speaking before the final, Jan Mikolajczak, one of four players from the University of Oxford, said the real-life game is surprisingly similar to the fictional version. “Other than the fact we’re not flying, it’s full contact and quite rough, just as it was in the books,” he said.

Despite the strict rules, Giulio Cioncoloni, a volunteer with organisers at the Cultural Association l’Ombrico, said the game is informal and incredibly fun. “It’s a beautiful sport because it’s one of strength. But at the end of the game, everyone hugs. It’s a great community. Quidditch is a sport for everyone,” he said.

Jordan agreed a jovial atmosphere dominated, despite injuries, with the French team celebrating alongside their British rivals. He hoped their win in Tuscany would help raise the profile of Quidditch in France: “We expanded a lot last year and we will continue next year. Winning the European games may influence people to get involved.”

After a successful European Games, all are looking forward to the bi-annual Quidditch Global Games next year. The site of the games has yet to be determined by the International Quidditch Association board. Though few new of Quidditch in the Italian country side, Italy now has 9 Quidditch teams across the country, and is hoping to continue growing. The home team (representing Italy) was knocked out of the tournament in an early defeat by the Belgians.

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11. Retweet for a Chance to Win “A Little Chaos”

SnitchSeeker is giving away Blu-Ray copies of Alan Rickman’s new film, A Little Chaos. All one has to do is retweet a tweet from SnitchSeeker’s Twitter feed. This contest only applies to US Residents only. Please visit the original article for more details!

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12. More details on Doctor Who Comics Day: new website and variant covers

We’re less than a month away from the second annual Doctor Who Comics Day on August 15th, and if our SDCC exclusive details on Paul Cornell‘s four Doctor series (not to mention the book’s first six pages) aren’t enough to get you vworping with excitement, check out the recent updates to the tumblr Titan has set up for the occasion. There you’ll find a trailer for the five-part crossover arc (which kicks-off in connection with the Doctor Who Comics Day celebration) featuring Doctor’s Ten through Twelve, their companions, and The War Doctor.

The four Doctor series is illustrated by Neil Edwards (Assassin’s Creed) and officially debuts on August 12th, but you’ll only get the chance to meet Doctor Who comic creators and artists if you drop by a participating store the following Saturday for Doctor Who Comics Day. The tumblr has a list of of the talent you can catch at in-store signings, as well as a peak at the local cosplayers scheduled to appear. Not enough? Most stores will also feature Doctor Who themed giveaways, contests and games.

My favorite two variants so far:

Bohemian Rhapsody inspired Forbidden Planet exclusive cover from Joshua Cassara And Luis Guerrero:

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*and*

This lovely nod to the season five episode “Vincent and the Doctor” from David Carr for Twilight Comics:

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13. Birthday Boy Daniel Radcliffe Shares Voice-acting Appearance

Today we wish a happy birthday to Daniel Radcliffe!  The lead actor of the Harry Potter films turns 26 today.  With so many upcoming projects, including Victor Frankenstein, this is sure to be a good year for him.

For a behind-the-scenes look at another project, Radcliffe recently posted a clip of a voice-acting appearance on Bojack Horseman to his Google+ page.

Bojack Horseman is an animated Netflix original series, starring Will Arnett in the present-day as a washed-up ’90s sitcom actor.  Daniel Radcliffe made an appearance in a recent episode of Season 2.

Only he knows what other projects he has in the works, but please join us in wishing Daniel Radcliffe a very happy birthday– and many more!

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14. New Black Lightning Archive: DC, Tony Isabella Reconcile

Black Lightning 4“Dogs and cats, living together!” – that’s what immediately popped into my mind yesterday when I read Tony Isabella praising DC on Facebook for how it was treating him in regard to Black Lightning.I’ve never seen the original contract between DC and Isabella in regard to Black Lightning so I have nothing to say of substance in regard to the property’s legal status, but as anyone who has followed Tony’s online writing over the years can tell you, Isabella’s statements about DC’s treatment of him and his landmark creation have not exactly been complimentary. That changed, however, yesterday, when Isabella called attention to an Amazon listing of the April 2016 release of Black Lightning, volume 1, the first of what could be a series of collections featuring DC’s first African-American superhero to star in an an eponymous book.

According to Isabella, the rapprochement is the result of outreach by Dan Didio and Geoff Johns, and Isabella is confident that DC will treat him fairly in regard to the payment of royalties. He also raised the possibility of doing more work for DC given sufficient reader demand; the prospect of Isabella working with, say, the creators of the revived Milestone line on a multi-generational crossover is particularly intriguing, given certain thematic resonances with Milestone’s nuanced reflections on creative identity.

To say that Isabella’s announcement is the most unexpected Facebook post of the year is an understatement — it’s one of the most dramatic turnarounds I’ve seen in decades of reading about comics-related disputes, and kudos to all involved for bringing about what I hope will be a truly lasting peace in our time.

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15. First Quidditch European Games to be held in Italy

As some will recall from our World Cup 8 report, the IQA (International Quidditch Association) dissolved in  2014, after many non-US Quidditch teams refused their bids to the 7th annual Quidditch World Cup. The IQA was then split into national associations (i.e. USQ, QUK, etc.). US World Cup 8 was hosted by USQ, while European Quidditch Associations promised a combined regional Cup was in the works. The European regional tournament is finally here.

For the first time, European Quidditch games will be held in Tuscany, The Telegraph reports.

According to the article, the real-life version of Quidditch, which was invented in the USA in 2005,  is popular in Italy. There are an estimated 6,000 Italian players. This year marks the first  that squads from all over Europe will take part in games held in the 2,000 year-old town of Sarteano. Players from the UK, Ireland, Germany, The Netherlands, Norway, Belgium, Catalonia, France, Poland, Spain, and Italy will compete in the games, which begin this Friday. The Telegraph reports that Sarteano will be transformed into a “mini Hogwarts” for the games:

The Quidditch teams will be greeted by a Harry Potter-themed party in Sarteano Castle, which dates from the 11th century. Market stalls will be set up to resemble the fictional Diagon Alley, where young wizards and witches come in search of their wands in the JK Rowling books.


Alas, flying on broomsticks isn’t exactly a possibility; however, real-life Quidditch reportedly closely mimics the original wizarding sport:

Each of the seven players in a real-world team must hold a broomstick between their legs at all times and the game comes to a close only once the snitch – which comes in the form of a human with a tennis ball suspended in a sock between their legs – is caught.


You can read the rest of the article here.

 

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16. Writer Wednesday: Big Announcement and Opportunity for Writers

I've been mentioning that I have news to share, and I can finally tell you what it is. I am now an acquisitions editor for Leap Books, Seek. This is the middle grade line for Leap. You can read the announcement on Leap's blog here.

As many of you probably know, I've been working as a copy editor for Leap for about a year now. That means I've had the privilege to work on some great titles from all of Leap's lines—Surge (YA), Shine (YA/NA novellas), and the newly renamed Seek (MG). Seek was formerly known as Frolic, but since the characters in the books seek adventure and don't actually frolic, the name was changed. ;)

Now the news that's good for you. Yes, YOU! I see you. In August, I'm opening up to unagented submissions for a very short period of time. Of course, if you have an agent, you are welcome to submit too. But this is an opportunity for those without representation at the moment, since Seek is usually only open to agented submissions.

So get ready! I'm looking for adventure, mystery, fantasy, and contemporary. And remember, it must be a middle grade title. If you don't want to miss my announcement of when the open submission will take place and where to send your query, follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter where I'll be sure to post the details.

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17. UPDATE: Coverage of ‘Fantastic Beasts’ Casting Call in London

Today, thousands of girls aged 8-12 years flocked to the Excel Centre in London to audition for the role of ‘Modesty’ in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, due for release in November 2016.

J.K. Rowling also tweeted about her excitement to find the girl perfect girl to play the ‘haunted young girl with an inner strength and stillness’:

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Various Potter stars also gave their best wishes to the girls in the queue, including Evanna Lynch, who posted an encouraging message on her Facebook earlier this week, urging people to audition:

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Here’s a first-hand breakdown of the day:

9:00am: Word around the HUGE queue was that people started to gather at around 5am, so by the time 9:00am hit (the time the queues opened), 4000 people were already raring to go.

10:00am-12:30pm: Temperatures were running high, and patience among the young hopefuls running thin. Security guards passed round water, suncream and umbrellas, with water tanks, an ice cream van and a snack bar nearer the front of the outside portion of the queue.

News reporters and various camera crew members were circling the crowds from all angles, and interviewing those in line – as in this video from BBC’s Newsround, and this video from Sky News. Others tweeted their photos of the queues:

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13:00pm: 9:00am arrivals reached the section (inside and air-conditioned!) portion of the queue. An absolute blessing. Casting Information Forms were handed out and filled in.

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14:30pm-15:00pm: After around six hours of queueing, 9:00am arrivals were finally taken in for their audition, which went as follows:

Staff took groups of ten children aside at a time, telling them not to be nervous. Girls were then broken into smaller groups to have their photos taken.

For their head-shots, girls were lined up in front of whiteboard and told what face to pull (e.g: straight face, smiley face, ‘eyes shut’ face). A casting crew member then took the groups aside to stand in a circle and take it in turns to tell the others their name, age and birthday. They were then asked a few questions (e.g: ‘If you had one superpower, what would it be?’)

Children then handed in their Casting Information Forms, and received a certificate to say they had taken part.

The audition was a 30-50 minute process on average. RadioTimes said that an estimated 14,000 children queued up outside the Excel Exhibition Centre.

We are all very excited at The Leaky Cauldron to see who’s going to be cast as Modesty. Join us in wishing good luck to those who auditioned!

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18. Week in Review, July 13th-17th

Week in Review

This week on hbook.com…

From the July/August 2015 Special Awards issue of The Horn Book Magazine: “From the Guide: YA Memoirs

Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld Talk with Roger

Reviews of the Week:

Read Roger: #Stuffwhitepeoplelike: Go Set a Watchman

Out of the Box: 

Lolly’s Classroom: Top 5 meta books to teach print concepts

Events calendar

Summer Reading 2015

See overviews of previous weeks by clicking the tag week in review. Follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to keep up-to-date on our articles!

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19. Helena Bonham-Carter in ‘Suffragette’ Teaser Posters

In honour of Emmeline Pankhurst Day in the U.K. yesterday, Suffragette has released three teaser character posters (below). These feature Helena Bonham-Carter alongside Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep. ComingSoon.net writes:

‘Suffragette is a powerful drama about the women who were willing to lose everything in their fight for equality in early-20th-century Britain. The stirring story centers on Maud (played by Carey Mulligan), a working wife and mother whose life is forever changed when she is secretly recruited to join the U.K.’s growing suffragette movement. Galvanized by the outlaw fugitive Emmeline Pankhurst (Meryl Streep), Maud becomes an activist for the cause alongside women from all walks of life. Inspired by true events, Suffragette is a moving drama exploring the passion and heartbreak of those who risked all they had for women’s right to vote – their jobs, their homes, their children, and even their lives.’

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The film is written by Abi Morgan (The Iron Lady), produced by Alison Owen and Faye Ward and set for initial release in the U.S.A. on October 23rd.

You can watch the trailer for Suffragette below:

Helena Bonham-Carter’s character has not been named in the media yet, however, photos of her on set in suffragette uniform are emerging left right and centre:

Helena-Bonham-Carter-Suffragette-Tom-Lorenzo-Site-TLO-1-2

The film itself is not only representing a crucially important time in women’s rights history, but is also making history itself, as the first commercial project to be allowed to shoot in the Houses of Parliament. You can read more here.

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20. How much it would cost to go to Hogwarts

Experts have calculated the price tag to attend a British prep school for witches and wizards. How much would it cost to attend Hogwarts? $43, 301 per year–about the same price as attending a private university.

Of course, Harry was never worried about this–he seemed to have endless amounts of Galleons in his vault at Gringotts. However, at this price tag, to send all seven Weasley children to school for seven years each would cost the family over $2 million. If Hogwarts was tuition free, it would be a different story–school supplies are still pretty costly, though, costing over $1,000 a year. The Times reports:

Even the Malfoys would struggle to afford this price.

Thanks to the diligent research of Mic‘s Kevin O’Keeffe, we now know Harry Potter’s alma mater costs about $43,301 per year.

O’Keefe gets this figure by combining estimates of the school’s price (including some of Time’s own reporting) with the cost of essential back-to-wizarding-school items like a wand ($42), owl ($140), and cauldron ($105).

The total charge for those necessities? O’Keeffe uses J.K. Rowling’sPottermore website to peg the damage at $1,031, which when added to the school’s price comes out to his total figure. Aspiring wizards and witches should check out the original post for a full cost breakdown.

We’ll have to assume Hogwarts has a generous scholarship program, because Mic‘s figure would be a huge amount of money, even for the Draco Malfoys of the world. Remember, Hogwarts lasts seven years, meaning the total sticker price for wizard training comes out to $303,107.

The original article from Mic gives the cost breakdown, saying: 

Rowling once said one Galleon converts to “about five pounds.” Thanks to some sharp work by the team over at the Harry Potter fan wiki, we know that, converted to American currency, a Galleon would value at approximately seven dollars, and that will be our primary measurement.

The hardest thing to figure out is tuition. Some insist tuition at Hogwarts is free, though the books are unclear either way. For the sake of this exercise, we’ll say that tuition must cost something. Multiple figures place the pricearound $42,000; we’ll take that number at face value.

A first-year Hogwarts student is given a supply list for what to buy in Diagon Alley. Thanks to prices primarily found on Pottermore, Rowling’s expansion of the Potter universe, we can calculate the price of each individual item.

Some are easy finds, like the price of Harry’s wand (seven galleons, $42) and a cauldron (15 galleons, $105). Others are cheap gets, like the $21 brass scales and glass phials (each 3 galleons), or the $35 telescope (5 galleons).

For the books, we have to use Pottermore‘s inventory listing, calculating a first-year’s reading list to 13 galleons, or $91. There’s no reliable data about clothing, so we’ll use a Visually estimate based on comparable items on Amazon to price it at $576. Finally, while other owls’ prices are listed on Pottermore, Harry’s rare snowy owl isn’t priced. Judging by the fact that it seems quite a bit rarer than the 10- and 15-galleon birds, we’ll estimate it at 20 galleons, or $140.

We have to assume that if Hogwarts does charge tuition, it offers some kind of financial aid to let all these students attend. Maybe a special program for Muggles to attend, or a legacy rate for the Weasleys? Without it, wizards-in-training and their parents would be left shouting “Accio scholarship.”

Please visit the original article to take a closer look at the detailed diagrams and figures.

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21. Harry Potter stars come together to support BBC

J.K. Rowling and Matthew Lewis are a part of a list of celebrities that have spoken out about their support for the BBC. The BBC is under threats of funding slashes and budget cuts. The news sources also faces political pressure to be “curbed,” or kept in check.

J.K. Rowling was one of many to sign a letter to the Prime Minister and the UK parliament, saying that changing the BBC would diminish it, and “a diminished BBC would simply mean a diminished Britain.” US News reports through the Associated Press:

“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling and naturalist David Attenborough also signed Wednesday’s letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, calling the BBC “a creative force for good” and “the envy of the world.”

The BBC runs multiple commercial-free TV and radio stations and websites, funded largely through a 145 pound ($227) annual fee paid by TV-owning households.

It faces a cash squeeze after agreeing to pay for free TV licenses for people over 75, and the fee’s future is in doubt as more people watch programs on computers, tablets and phones.

The BBC also faces renegotiating the terms of its governing charter with what some consider a hostile government.

Some in Cameron’s Conservative Party think the BBC should focus on “public service” broadcasting and stop making big-budget entertainment shows such as singing contest “The Voice” and car program “Top Gear.”

The broadcaster is regularly accused of political bias — by both left and right — and is criticized by commercial rivals for its size and secure funding.

To read the full article, please visit US News.

Using her favorite social media venue, J.K. Rowling has continued her outspokenness through Twitter. She and Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom) have tweeted and retweeted using the hashtag #BacktheBBC.

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22. Daniel Radcliffe Plays Prank on Nylon Magazine

Daniel Radcliffe recently visited Nylon Magazine offices. During his visit he agreed to pull a prank, and sit in as Nylon’s front desk receptionist for an hour. Having never been a receptionist, Dan was miserable at the job, which made the prank even more laughable.

The first few people to walk by didn’t even notice the difference. Then came workers and visitors who knew who he was. In the midst of photos and compliments on his role in Harry Potter, many who visited the desk actually need to meet with NYLON staff, deliver packages, pick up packages, borrow stamps, or obtain the bathroom key. The only job Dan seemed able to complete was finding the bathroom key!

The best part of the prank was Joe Jonas’s inability to recognize Dan. He introduced himself, asked if Dan was new, then asked if he was from “the England.” When Dan was unable to call the extension of the staff member Joe needed to meet with, Joe said under his breath, “this new guy sucks.” Perhaps Mr. Jonas feels his embarrassment now? Dan had a good laugh about it. NYLON magazine wrote:

I reached around the desk, grabbed a bag, and made my merry way back to my desk. As I walked back, out of the corner of my eye, I saw that there was a man sitting at the desk. I turned my head, and, to my delight, I realized that my peripheral vision had not failed me. It was Daniel Radcliffe sitting at the front desk. Yes, that Daniel Radcliffe. Confused and more than a bit dazed, I stared for a moment before accepting this fact and returning to my desk.

That was strange. Was I supposed to say something? Should I say something? Probably not. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed another sight. It was an intern, crying. My peripheral vision was not failing me that day. They were tears of shock and, I think, joy.

I received no phone calls during that hour, which was strange. And a package that was supposedly delivered to the office for me never made it to my desk. As I started to track down the aforementioned package, I heard a squeal. Apparently Joe Jonas had come into the office, to surprise Daniel and try to resume his job.

Buzzfeed, of course, nailed all of the hilarious gifs and comments.

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23. Deluxe Edition of Illustrated “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”

Bloomsbury has announced that it will be releasing a deluxe edition of the anticipated illustrated Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. Bloomsbury laid plans for the illustrated books in 2012. Since the first press release announced that Jim Kay would be providing the artwork for an illustrated version of J.K. Rowling’s masterpieces, sneak previews and images have been slowly released.

New from Bloomsbury comes a press release, along with more pictures, of the a gilded, cloth-bound, deluxe edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. This deluxe edition will be published after the initial release of the illustrated books (October) on November 5.

Additional features of the deluxe edition include a pull out double-sized picture of Diagon Alley, exclusive to this edition, purple cloth cover and slipcase, gilt with gold along the edges of top grade paper, as well as the cover, head and tail bands, and two ribbon page markers. An image of the deluxe edition can be seen below.

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Illustrated_Diagon-Alley

The deluxe edition will be exclusively sold at Bloomsbury from November 5, 2015 until March 2016. At that time, the book will be available through other retailers. Sold alongside the standard illustrated edition which will cost 30 pounds ($40 in the US, or $21 on Amazon), the deluxe edition will cost 150 pounds ($270 for US buyers). Bloomsbury is offering a 10% to bring the price down to 135 pounds.

The Press Release reads:

The deluxe illustrated edition of J.K. Rowling’s timeless classic will feature an exclusive pull-out double gatefold of Diagon Alley; intricate foiled line art by Jim Kay on a real cloth cover and slipcase; gilt edges on premium grade paper; head and tail bands and two ribbon markers. It is the ultimate must-have edition for any fan, collector or bibliophile. This edition will be sold exclusively from the Bloomsbury.com website until March 2016 when it will be made available to retail outlets.


This special edition is an utterly enchanting feast of a book and something to treasure for a lifetime. Brimming with rich detail and humour, Jim Kay’s dazzling depiction of the wizarding world and much loved characters will captivate fans and new readers alike. In oil, pastel, pencil, watercolour, pixels and a myriad of other techniques, Jim Kay has created over 115 astonishing illustrations.

The Harry Potter books will grow in size to accommodate all the new images. Published through Bloomsbury, one can hope that the deluxe edition of the illustrated Philosopher’s Stone will be available through Scholastic or Amazon come March 2016.

Thanks to MuggleNet and Hypable for bringing this news story to our attention.

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24. ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ owls to visit Aberdeen, U.K. this weekend

The Snowy Owl who played Hedwig, and Eral, a Great Horned Owl who delivered Harry’s first letter in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone are set to visit Duthie Park in Aberdeen this Sunday. The two ‘Harry Potter owls’ are from the Owl and Pussycat Centre in Maud, who frequently take the birds to local events.

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The Press and Journal, Aberdeen writes:

‘As well as getting to meet the feathered film stars, visitors will also be able to enjoy stalls and events hosted by RSPB, the Satrosphere Science Centre, the Aberdeen Bee Keeper’s Society, the Butterfly Conservation Society and other environmental groups, from midday to 4pm.’

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You can read more about the event on Aberdeen City Council’s website here.

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25. Unveiling of expansion to Warner Bros. Hollywood Studio Tour

SnitchSeeker recently made an early visit to the brand new exhibit (opened July 16th) at the Warner Bros. Hollywood Studio Tour – Stage 48: Script to Screen.

This is a $13 million addition to the tour, which takes about two hours to complete, moving from set to set on the archetypal navigator of the Hollywood film industry: a golf cart. Giving guests a deep and interactive look into the film-making process, the Stage 48 exhibit shows the different stages involved in production, casting, costume design and script writing through a variety of interactive stations. Key moments of the tour are given by Deadline:

‘Highlights include the Central Perk coffeehouse from Friends and a green-screen setup that let guests fly on Harry Potter’s broomstick. Other enhancements include recorded messages from the stars of 2 Broke GirlsPretty Little Liars, and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. There’s also newly assembled video montages of scenes from productions filmed on the Warner Bros backlot.’

Of course, SnitchSeeker‘s main concern on their visit was to explore the Potter sections! Much alike the Warner Bros. Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter in Leavesden, Stage 48’s special effects area features green screen booths where visitors can ride a broomstick. SnitchSeeker writes:

‘Guests don a Hogwarts robe and are seated on a broomstick. Then they’re able to watch themselves – via a monitor – as they fly through various parts of London and the English countryside on their way to Hogwarts Castle. Souvenir photos of the experience are available for purchase.’

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This interactive experience also allows you to place yourself within film scenes from The Dark Knight and Gravity.

Other stations explored by SnitchSeeker involve a motion capture station, featuring Dobby the House Elf, who copies your actions on a screen. This is reportedly much alike the ‘moving skeleton’ spell involving the interactive wands in Knockturn Alley at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando.

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Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe’s audition tapes are also included in the casting section, and Mr Weasley’s enchanted Ford Anglia is ‘flying’ (or hanging from the ceiling) in the sound stage. SnitchSeeker also writes that there is a video by set designer for the Potter films, Stuart Craig.

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Last but not least, SnitchSeeker explored the gift shop for the Hollywood tour, selling loads of Harry Potter merchandise. They say:

‘We spotted some new Potter goodies there, including Pigwidgeon plushes, Gryffindor Quidditch duffle bags and light up Swords of Gryffindor.’

You can read more, see more photos of the exhibit, and watch videos of the interactive stations in SnitchSeeker’s article here, and take a look at their  photo gallery including loads more photos here.

Thanks to SnitchSeeker for such an in-depth look inside the new Stage 48: Script to Screen!

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