J.K. Rowling at the International Writers and Readers Festival. (Mania.com)
Date: Friday, November 03, 2000
Last week, in Vancouver, Canada, approximately 10,000 fans of all ages magically appeared to listen to Joanne K. Rowling, the author of the immensely popular HARRY POTTER children's book series in two separate appearances as part of the annual Vancouver International Writers and Readers Festival, held at the Pacific Coliseum stadium. With Halloween just around the corner, it was an appropriate time for kids to express their love for Harry Potter, the youngster who studies magic at Hogwarts, the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Spotted throughout the corridors of the stadium at the second event were boys and girls wearing Harry Potter's trademark horn-rimmed glasses. Girls also came dressed in Potter-esque clothing and pointed purple hats. Sorry, no owls or broomsticks were sighted. Calendars and books from the Kidsbooks vendors appeared to be selling briskly.
J.K. Rowling appeared on stage to a thundering applause and cheers from her loyal audience. Just 24 hours earlier, she stood before 12,000 cheering fans at the Skydome stadium in Toronto, making it possibly the largest author reading ever. After the audience had listened rapturously to a spirited chapter reading from the fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (and they laughed in all the right places), Rowling answered questions from the audience. Assisted by spotlights from the stage area, four helpers with microphones roamed throughout sections of the stadium, picking out children and adults eager to address Rowling. Most queries were from children who probed for more details about minutiae from the various books. Rowling's frequent answers were 'Well, what do you think?' or 'I can't tell you!'
The Harry Potter phenomenon continued in the next day, when Rowling's photograph appeared splashed on the front page of the city's newspaper, The Vancouver Sun. Reporter Max Wyman snatched 15 minutes with the author and asked her if Harry Potter is serving as a moral figure for today's children to emulate. 'I see him as a good person but with a human underbelly,' Rowling told Wyman. 'He is vulnerable; he is frequently afraid; he has a very strong conscience, and it is my belief that with the overwhelming majority of human beings--maybe I'm a wild optimist--most people do try to do the right thing, by their own lights.'
Big thing are ahead in J.K. Rowling's life. There is a major motion picture adaptation of the first book,Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, currently in production in England, directed by Chris Columbus and scheduled to be released next year. Three more books have yet to be written in the seven-book series, although Rowling has admitted that she knows exactly the final fate of all the characters. Two Harry Potter-related books have been commissioned for charity, to benefit the UK Comic Relief. The titles are 'Fantastic Beasts And Where to Find Them' and 'Quidditch Through the Ages.'
Rest assured, dear muggles and fellow wizards, more magic is yet to come.