As longstanding followers of ACHUKA will know, I have not been an ardent enthusiast either for the books themselves or for the subsequent deluge of overlong fantasy sequences that followed in their wake, but it would be churlish not to acknowledge this very significant anniversary (the first Harry Potter novel was published 20 years ago today) and to celebrate
- the huge market impact that the Harry Potter series has had
- the way in which the books and the films have worked together to ensure longevity
- the genuine excitement that the book business has been able to generate and feed off each time there has been a new HP title
- the exemplary way in which J. K. Rowling herself has used Twitter and the internet to create an author presence
There are special 20th anniversary editions of the books, illustrated by Levi Pinfold, Kate Greenaway Medal winner.
Gosh,20 years ago today my cool Bloomsbury team published Harry Potter – thanks to all the readers everywhere who made his flight so special
— Barry Cunningham (@BarryChicken) June 26, 2017
20 years ago today a world that I had lived in alone was suddenly open to others. It's been wonderful. Thank you.#HarryPotter20
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) June 26, 2017
This essay by Katherine Rundell, published by The Economist magazine two years ago, is one of the best things I’ve read by somebody who grew up with these books, and I thoroughly get and feel legitimately chastised by Rundell’s early observation:
I fell in love with Harry, who was just a month older than me; or, if not with him, because he is the least sharply drawn character, then with the secret world lying so discreetly alongside my own. By the fourth book, all but the coolest children were in love with it too. That taught me an early lesson – that the cool miss a great deal. They lose more than they gain; here, they missed out on a phenomenon that moulded the minds, morals and desires of a generation.
I wasn’t a young reader when the books were published. Even if I had been, I don’t think they would have been for me. But as a reviewer and commentator, I do in retrospect feel ACHUKA should have been more positive and welcoming, and mucked in more.