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Harry Potter Author to Be Feted Like Star in Toronto

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  • Lisa Deutsch Harrigan
    The original article can be found at: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000725/re/arts_canada_rowling_dc_1.html Tuesday July 25 2:05 PM ET Harry Potter Author
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 25 4:51 PM
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      The original article can be found at:
      http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20000725/re/arts_canada_rowling_dc_1.html

      Tuesday July 25 2:05 PM ET
      Harry Potter Author to Be Feted Like Star in Toronto

      By Leah Eichler

      TORONTO (Reuters) - Call it Harry Potter and the Giant Stadium.
      Children are lining up by the hundreds in Toronto for tickets to
      hear an author read from a book at a venue usually reserved for
      the Backstreet Boys and baseball players.

      Sound unbelievable? Not if the author is J. K. Rowling, creator
      of the worldwide publishing phenomenon, the Harry Potter book
      series.

      The reclusive Rowling, who will read from her latest hit, ''Harry
      Potter and the Goblet of Fire,'' will take center stage at
      Toronto's cavernous SkyDome on October 24 as part of an annual
      authors festival known to appeal more to the staid bookish set
      than bubbling pre-teens.

      ``My mom told me last night when she kissed me good-night that
      she was coming,'' nine-year-old Haley Hatch-Daniel said excitedly
      as she stood in line at the stadium. ``I'm very excited.''

      After reading the first three Potter books and is half-way
      through Rowling's fourth novel, Hatch-Daniel said she was eager
      to see the author in person: ``She writes very good books and
      they are about very interesting things, like wizardry.''

      ``I love J. K. Rowling,'' enthused Vanessa Santirri, 12, as she
      waited in line for tickets with her mother. In the middle of
      ``Goblet of Fire,'' Santirri said that at 640 pages long it was
      the biggest book she has ever tried to read.

      Organizers for the event, called Harbourfront's International
      Festival of Authors, were at first apprehensive of booking the
      55,000 seat stadium but were now certain they made the right
      decision.

      ``I think it was quite exciting for her (Rowling) to think she's
      going to be appealing to an audience as large as the Rolling
      Stones gets,'' said Greg Gatenby, artistic director of the annual
      festival.

      Officials said on Tuesday more than 2,000 tickets have been sold
      for the British author of the magical books that follows the
      apprentice wizard, Harry Potter, and his battles with dark
      forces.

      ``I think there are only two authors on the planet who would even
      have a chance of filling half the SkyDome. One is J.D. Salinger
      and the other is J.K. Rowling,'' Gatenby said.

      Rowling, whose books have appeared in 39 languages and 200
      countries, leaves a litany of broken rules in her wake, including
      that boys nine to 12 don't read books. Rowling's speaking
      engagement could also disprove conventional wisdom that children
      don't show up for author readings.

      ``No one has ever done this before,'' Gatenby said. ``In terms of
      purely, literary events, without any political attachment the
      largest readings as far as I know have been here at (Toronto's)
      Harbourfront, with 3,000 people.''

      Gatenby orchestrated the event by appealing to Rowling through
      her Canadian publisher, Raincoast Books. In his letter he
      reminded Rowling that she used to be a single mother without much
      money and one of the advantages of having an event at the SkyDome
      would be to sell thousands of low-priced seats -- so parents
      could afford to take their whole family.

      General admission seats will go for C$5 ($3.40) while top seats
      will fetch C$234.

      Gatenby claimed that Rowling will not be the only person on the
      bill and will be treated like all other authors. He promises it
      will be theatrical in nature in order to appeal to Rowling's
      target audience.

      ``At a time when we are wringing our hands over the question 'are
      children reading,' here is someone who almost single-handedly got
      an entire generation reading books,'' Gatenby said.
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