"Harry Potter wizardry back at work for book five"
by Paul Majendie (Reuters, November 29, 2000)
|LONDON - Good news for Harry Potter fans. J.K. Rowling has started writing Book Five about the weird and wonderful world of the teenage wizard.
Pottermania has gripped children around the globe -- more than 66 million copies have been sold in 200 languages and the sales graph shows no signs of dipping.
The latest land to fall under Harry's spell is France -- shops across the country threw midnight parties to mark the publication of Volume Four.
"Germany was a massive market and France is catching up big time. It crosses all boundaries and is a real worldwide phenomenon," said Rosamund de la Hey, head of children's sales and marketing at Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.
Harry has certainly spread his magic at the publishers whose shares have quadrupled in value over the last year and a half.
"SHE HAS STARTED WRITING"
And the saga shows no signs of running out of steam.
"Writing is what she (Rowling) loves more than anything else in the world," de la Hey said. "She is beginning to work on book number five after a pretty busy year. She is just getting to grips with it."
"She has started writing but we have no idea when it will be coming out," she added.
The bespectacled Harry, a quaint boarding-school throwback in the cyber era of Playstation and Pokemon, has been hailed for singlehandedly teaching a whole new generation of children the joys of reading in an electronic age of short attention spans.
The publishing industry has above all been astonished by the true universality of the books written by a single mother in an Edinburgh cafe in between school runs.
"She tells stories people have sympathy with," de la Hey told Reuters. "The books have depth and humour and people very rarely read them just once. They read the whole lot and start again. They see the characters as friends."
Potter has seduced Hollywood too. A film of the wizard's escapades is currently being filmed for release next year and the vibes from Rowling have been positive.
"She is thrilled with how things are going and has been in close contact with the director and the producer," de la Hey said.