Imagine if that first Harry Potter manuscript had fallen into the hands of the wrong reader when it was sent to Bloomsbury - we might never have heard of Harry or J.K and the world of children's literature might be very different today.
When the conversation turns to favourite books, those people around me who like to affect a public disdain for all things Harry Potter always seem to assume I'm one of them, when the truth is I rather like the idea of Harry and Hogwarts (and especially Snape) and I love the fact that so many people seem to truly love the series.
Having been to the Harry Potter Studio Tour at Leavesden, I now know exactly what went in to making the movies (spoiler alert: it's a lot!), and I am incredibly impressed. That said, I'm still all about an eventual remake putting a fresh spin on the story!
What is this world coming to?" - it curls off the lips as perfunctory as an adjacency pair. Often the reply is a silence - aren't we all void of respo...
Today I took part in a Harry Potter Studios press tour, and one of the things I took away from the day was a bit of a scoop: one staff member indicated to me that they are looking into making it possible for fans to have their wedding ceremonies in the set of the Great Hall of Hogwarts!
There was a bit of debate on Twitter this week, sparked by an article on Parentdish, about whether or not we should read our troopers the 'classics'.
Literature and art more generally, must in some way draw upon the historic in order to gain sustenance. And in a paradoxical way, children's literature is more capable of this than most.
It's my son's birthday soon... Amongst other things*, he's asked for the Harry Potter DVD box set. It's his 11th birthday - the very age when Harry Potter discovers that he is a wizard. I hope my son turns out to be a wizard too then maybe I won't have to go shopping anymore. He can just wave a twiggy stick about shouting "DVDidius Box Settiosa" and it will appear. Job done.
There's been plenty of talk about the state of the British film industry lately - calls for more King's Speeches, more commercially viable movie product that will generate money and is worth investing in in the first place. What the bigwigs fail to understand is how frail the infrastructure of the homegrown industry is.
"Form is temporary. Class is permanent." This phrase, heard most often in my life in a cricketing context, came to mind today as I was helping to judge the BMS Seasonal Book Marketing Awards (a much more modest event than yesterday's Costa Book Awards, won by Andrew Miller's novel Pure).
Here's why Harry Potter needs to pull a Lord of the Rings and sweep the Oscars in 2012.
I started a business. It made me want to drink copious quantities, smoke myself into oblivion and hit my head against a brick wall. Instead I wrote a ...
It's September. Glastonbury, Wimbledon and Edinburgh Fringe seem a distant memory. The air grows colder and the days get darker as the curtain begins to fall on another British summer
There are some words that only exist in tabloid-speak. 'Blonde' as a noun. 'Bed' as a verb - and it's normally 'a blonde' who is 'bedded', of course. And 'unlucky in love', which is the tabloids' adjective for 'single'. But only if you're a woman.
Like most adults I pepper my language with colourful Anglo-Saxon phrases in the company of friends, but for 5 years I had kept my potty mouth shut within earshot of the kids and neither of them had uttered a salty word.
The book publishing and retailing business is in turmoil. Nothing new about that. But look at the momentous things, happening in the UK right now, that will transform the industry at speed: