J.K. Rowling has been keeping us guessing about her big announcement, and today she finally revealed all. The Harry Potter author has created something which is described as: “a free website that builds an exciting online experience around the reading of the Harry Potter books.” It will open to all in October, but fans can return on 31 July to find out how to enter Pottermore.com early. The series of seven will be available to buy as e-books from the site, and digital audio books will also be downloadable. Rowling says fans will help shape the site and she’ll also be joining in. She said: “I will be sharing additional information I have been hoarding for years about the world of Harry Potter.” Watch the announcement above. Are you excited about this new venture?
Harry Potter fans could be in for a treat as a new website has been unveiled. Pottermore.com currently consists of just a holding page with J.K. Rowling’s signature and the tantilising message ‘Coming soon…’. There is a Twitter account too.
The site was revealed in a Secret Street View challenge, where Rowling gave ten Potter websites co-ordinates relating to a different letter in Pottermore. The name is said to be the last patent recorded by Rowling back in July 2009. An HPANA.com editor claims to have seen a sneak preview and calls it “breathtaking in scope, detail and sheer beauty.”
Naturally, there’s now speculation there will be more Potter novels, but a spokeswoman at Rowling’s PR company said: “It is not another Harry Potter book but we cannot reveal any more at this stage, fans will have to keep an eye on the website. It will be launching soon.”
The Bookseller adds that the spokeswoman refused to confirm if there was a link between the new website and the release of e-books. What do you think it is?
Katie is hoping to sign more than 1,951 copies of her latest work of fiction, The Comeback Girl, in Leeds on 27 July. Participants will be rewarded by being listed in the acknowledgements of her next novel and receiving a wristband, with one fan randomly picked to appear as a character.
Even without these incentives, I’m sure Katie won’t struggle to fill the O2 Academy in Leeds with autograph seekers. Whether she’s promoting a novel, children’s book or autobiography, she pulls the crowds and the press attention thanks to her brilliantly bonkers costumes and props.
Publicity director at Random House, Charlotte Bush said: “The Guinness World Records attempt will be Katie’s 113th signing with Random House and we are determined to make it her biggest yet.”
The bookies got it wrong this time, as The Tiger’s Wifewon the Orange Prize 2011. Emma Donoghue was the favourite to win with Room, but 25-year-old Obreht scooped the honour, becoming the youngest winner of the annual prize for fiction written by women.
Chair of Judges, Bettany Hughes said of Obreht: “By skilfully spinning a series of magical tales she has managed to bring the tragedy of chronic Balkan conflict thumping into our front rooms with a bittersweet vivacity.”
Gruffalo creator Julia Donaldson is the new children’s laureate. She is the seventh to hold the post, following in the pen-strokes of Quentin Blake, Anne Fine, Michael Morpurgo, Jacqueline Wilson, Michael Rosen and Anthony Browne. It’s Browne, her predecessor, who urged Donaldson to champion libraries. In an open letter he wrote: “Do everything you can to support libraries – God knows, they need every bit of help they can get nowadays.”
The rest of the shortlist includes: Aminatta Forna’s The Memory of Love; Emma Henderson’s Grace Williams Says it Loud; Nicole Krauss’s Great House; Téa Obreht’s The Tiger’s Wife; and Kathleen Winter’s Annabel.
Global book club 1book140 has launched this month with Margaret Atwood’s The Blind Assassin as its opening read. The Twitter-based group already has more than 7,000 followers, who will be sharing their views on the novel throughout June.
The initiative is run by Jeff Howe and follows last summer’s One Book, One Twitter Club, which focused on Neil Gaiman’s American Gods.
Are you interested in this kind of virtual book club?
Richard and Judy this week announced the 18 titles that are part of their Children’s Book Club this summer. The list comprises three categories: Read Together; Read Yourself; and Fluent Reader. There are old favourites alongside new titles, and I’m pleased to see books with illustrations by Tony Ross and Quentin Blake. Earlier this month the couple revealed their choices for adults. Do you plan to read any of their recommendations?
I visited Chelsea Flower Show this week and amid all the wonderful plants the literary world made its presence felt, particularly in my favourite category: the Artisan Gardens. Three had strong associations with the written word.
The link is most explicit in A Literary Garden, which is designed to be a poet’s retreat and is filled with hand-carved verses on the benches, bridge, sundial and water features. It also has a rather inviting cubby hole lined with logs.
Waterproof paper lines the walls of The Basildon Bond Centenary Garden, which is presented as a celebration of the stationery brand’s 100 year history. Fun touches like a reproduction of the Basildon Bond clock (where the 12 letters replace numbers) and a black wall-mounted post box add to the planting, which includes a paperbark maple whose peeling bark perfectly matches the theme.
The inspiration for gold medal winner A Postcard from Wales is the area surrounding Dylan Thomas’s home town of Laugharne. Soft pinks, whites and purples of the rose and allium are planted next to a silted river inlet.