Belfast Telegraph

Harry Potter fans to celebrate 20 years since first release

By Laura Harding

Harry Potter fans will today celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first book about The Boy Who Lived.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was first published on June 26, 1997, and has since sold more than 450 million copies worldwide in 79 languages.

It has also led to a major movie franchise, a sold-out theatre production and multiple theme parks, as well as a booming memorabilia market.

Author JK Rowling had the idea for the stories about a young wizard, his friends and teachers at a school for magic while on a train journey and wrote the first book while sitting in a cafe in Edinburgh.

The Elephant House has since become a tourist attraction for fans of the series.

Rowling's follow-up to the Philosopher's Stone, the Chamber of Secrets, was published the next year in 1998, while Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was published in 1999.

They were followed by the Goblet of Fire, the Order of the Phoenix, the Half-Blood Prince and the Deathly Hallows.

The first film, which propelled stars Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson to global fame, was released in 2001.

An exhibition celebrating Harry Potter will open at the British Library on October 20, while Rowling's publisher Bloomsbury will release four new editions of the book, one for each house at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

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