The genesis of Harry Potter goes back to 1990 when J.K. Rowling was caught on a delayed train somewhere between Manchester and Kings Cross Station in London. Seven years and many submissions to publishers later, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone finally saw print, swiftly becoming a word-of-mouth hit. Within twelve months, under the Bloomsbury imprint, the Harry Potter series became a publishing phenomena, spawning an entire universe of magic.
Harry Potter: the Series in Order
The greatest adventure in children’s literature starts here. Discover J.K. Rowling's books and meet the boy who lived, the infant saviour of Voldemort’s dark reign, the wizard of the future: the one and only Harry Potter.
Harry Potter LEGO®
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
New characters to meet, new histories, locations and impossible creatures to discover and an entire lexicon of spectacular spells to add to your wizarding know-how: that's the growing world of J.K. Rowling's Fantastic Beasts, featuring everyone's favourite magizoologist, Newt Scamander. With Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald hitting cinemas in November 2018 the excitement builds all over again.
Harry Potter Illustrated Editions
Seeing Jim Kay’s illustrations moved me profoundly,” wrote J.K. Rowling. “I love his interpretation of Harry Potter’s world, and I feel honoured and grateful he has lent his talent to it.” In one of publishing’s most ambitious and beautiful projects, experience each volume of Harry Potter as interpreted by the extraordinary artist Jim Kay. This is a growing series you will want to treasure forever.
20th Anniversary House Editions
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the phenomenon that is Harry Potter Bloomsbury Publishing is releasing these very special House editions, each illustrated by the award-winning artist Levi Pinfold, and containing fact files and profiles of your favourite characters.
Collectable gift editions of the entire Harry Potter series newly illustrated by Johnny Duddle.
Always by Your Side: Harry Potter Adult Editions
Growing up certainly doesn’t mean growing out of Harry Potter; whether its rekindling your love or entirely new to the wizarding world.
Spelling Aloud: Harry Potter on Audio
The original Harry Potter series is brought to life by the voice of master storyteller Stephen Fry in these complete and unabridged audio editions. Don’t miss a moment of the magic.
From Page to Screen
Magic isn’t just confined to wands – discover the incredible secrets behind the Harry Potter film series.
J.K. Rowling: The Full Story
‘The best letter of my life, I read it eight times.’ – J.K. Rowling on being accepted by Christopher Little Literary Agents
Famously rejected by no less than eight publishers before ultimately being picked up by Bloomsbury, the genesis of what was to become Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is almost as well-documented as the books themselves.
Born in Gloucestershire in 1965, J.K. Rowling studied French and Classics at The University of Exeter and later moved to Portugal, returning to the UK in 1993. Although the basic threads of the Harry Potter universe surfaced in 1990, it took Rowling another six years to complete the first novel, famously writing the book in cafés around Edinburgh. A chance submission to London literary agent Christopher Little set the ball in motion toward its eventual publication on June 26, 1997.
Although by now of course a global phenomenon, those early days were fuelled by sheer word-of-mouth enthusiasm, with readers and booksellers alike utterly enraptured by this new, enchanting world. Although we generally fight shy of claiming credit in anyone’s success, Waterstones Edinburgh was amongst the first of bookshops to really grasp Harry Potter’s potential and to this day its booksellers have vivid memories of hosting those initial spearhead events.
Rowling went on to write another six full-length Harry Potter books and two accompanying volumes to support the charity Comic Relief - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages. Following the conclusion of the series in 2007 with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, fears that those magical doors had closed for good proved groundless, with Rowling penning the exquisite The Tales of Beedle the Bard, initially available only as seven impossibly-rare copies. Ultimately that too saw print proper with proceeds going to charity.
In 2016, we had yet more from the wizarding world, with Rowling breaking new ground with the release of her first new Harry Potter story for nearly a decade, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, adapted as a play by Jack Thorne for The Palace Theatre with books released in Waterstones shops around the country on the last stroke of midnight on 30th July 2016. This was closely followed by the release of Rowling’s original screenplay for the film adaptation of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. J.K. Rowling has also been a vocal and pioneering voice on social media (readers can follow her @jk_rowling) and taken the wizarding world online with the fan site Pottermore where readers can follow the series as it expands into new territories.
Writing for J.K. Rowling is not, however, confined to the worlds of wizardry and magic, finding considerable critical and commercial success in her 2012 novel The Casual Vacancy, an entirely earthly tale of social injustice. Few however were aware that a crime debut published early in the following year and written by a certain ‘Robert Galbraith’ was Rowling herself, intrigued by the notion of writing as a completely different persona. By 2014 the secret was out and The Cuckoo’s Calling – the first book in a series of detective mysteries featuring private investigator Cormoran Strike – was then to be followed by The Sikworm and Career of Evil, the latter appearing in 2015.
Effortlessly shifting from the fantasies of Harry Potter through to the pages of adult fiction, crime and now onward to stage and screen, the impossibility to predict the mercurial mind of J.K. Rowling makes what might come all the more exciting. ‘I feel like I’ve got happier and happier,’ she told the Guardian in 2015. ‘I feel like I’m hitting my stride.’