LONDON Questions about quidditch? Pondering on the phoenix?
Answers will be provided when J.K. Rowling (search) reads from the
next Harry Potter (search) adventure at the Royal Albert Hall on June
26, and does a live interview about the book that will be broadcast
simultaneously on the Internet, organizers said Tuesday.
At the event, hosted by actor Stephen Fry, Rowling will read from
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix which is to be published
June 21 before taking questions about junior wizard H. Potter from
members of the audience and through the Internet.
British Telecom is sponsoring the webcast and Microsoft is hosting
the online event at www.msn.co.uk/harrypotter. Rowling's British
publishers, Bloomsbury, have commissioned the companies Initial and
Victoria Real, which made the Big Brother reality series for TV, to
film the event.
"There isn't a venue anywhere in the world that could host the
millions of Harry fans over the world desperate to experience the
magic of this event," said Tracy Blacher, MSN marketing manager.
"This is what the Web should be about taking fans to the heart of
the action whether they're in Houston, Harrogate or Hong Kong."
More than 900 schools applied for the 4,000 tickets to attend the
The Web cast, which is free, begins at noon EDT. Microsoft said it
has the potential to reach children in 34 countries in 18 different
Before the event, children are invited to submit their questions
about Harry to the Web site. Fry will put the best questions to J.K.
Rowling live on the night. A number of questions will also be taken
live from the Internet during the webcast and fed through to the
author during the event.
Harry fans will also have the chance to win bookplates signed by the
The webcast will be archived for seven days after the event so fans
can watch it again.
Peter Cowley, Director of Interactive Media at Endemol parent
company of Initial and Victoria Real said the event "is an example
of the Web doing more than television could ever do beaming out a
hugely anticipated event directly to a worldwide audience, free of
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is over 255,000 words
compared with over 191,000 words in Rowling's fourth Potter book,
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Released in July 2000, that sold
more copies on the first weekend after publication than any other
book, according to Bloomsbury Publishers.
Rowling's four published titles have sold an estimated 192 million
copies worldwide in hard and soft cover, and the books have been
published in at least 55 languages and distributed in more than 200
In addition to the United States where it is published by
Scholastic and Britain, the new book also will be published on June
21 in Canada, Australia and several other countries.