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Harry Potter exhibit marks 20th anniversary of first book

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By Associated Press

LONDON (AP) — Harry Potter fans owe a debt of gratitude to Alice Newton.
Alice was 8 years old when her father, a Bloomsbury Publishing executive, brought home a new manuscript for her to read.
“The excitement in this book made me feel warm inside,” she scrawled in a note to her dad. “I think it is probably one of the best books an 8/9 year old could read.”
Based on this glowing review, Bloomsbury published “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” launching a literary juggernaut that brought magic to a generation of children.
Alice’s penciled note is part of the British Library’s new exhibition, “Harry Potter: A History of Magic.” The show, which coincides with the 20th anniversary of the publication of J.K. Rowling’s first book, is an unabashed celebration of the stories and their antecedents.
“There are some rich historical traditions behind the magic in the Harry Potter stories, which J.K. Rowling was aware of,” said Alexander Lock, one of the exhibit curators, who added that he was impressed with Rowling’s ability to layer information and offer depth. “They go into the stories and make them so rich.”


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