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Rowling to read from the latest 'Potter'

June 05, 2003|From Reuters

LONDON — Children around the world will be able to join an audience with J.K. Rowling this month and ask the author everything they long to know about Harry Potter.

To mark the release of the most eagerly awaited children's book of the year, Rowling is taking to the stage of London's Royal Albert Hall on June 26 to read from "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" and answer questions from fans.

Following global Webcasts of Madonna and Paul McCartney concerts, Microsoft's Internet arm, MSN, is arranging a live Internet feed of the event at www.msn.co.uk/harrypotter at 8 a.m. PDT on that day.

The Webcast has the potential to reach readers in 34 countries, and children from around the globe have been invited to pose questions to Rowling on the show.

The latest saga of the teenage wizard at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry already rates as the most pre-ordered book in publishing history. Amazon.com, the top online retailer, reported Wednesday that advance orders for the book now top 1 million copies.

The latest saga will be released June 21.

The first four books have now sold almost 200 million copies in 55 languages and 200 countries. But Potter fans have had to wait three years for the latest installment.

Rowling, who wrote the first book as an impoverished single mother in an Edinburgh cafe, is now richer than Queen Elizabeth, with a personal fortune put at $450 million.

In what is billed as her only public appearance to talk about the book, she will be interviewed on stage by comedian Stephen Fry before an audience in the hall of 4,000 children.

Amazon has said it anticipates that the shipping of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" to thousands of customers around the globe will mark the largest distribution of any one item bought over the Internet.

With 17 days remaining before the book's release, Amazon said its latest pre-order tally was now more than twice the worldwide advance orders it got for "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," the fourth book in the series.

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