J.K. Rowling’s Harvard commencement address to be published in 2015

vgljkrJ.K. Rowling’s 2008 Harvard University commencement address will be published in an illustrated hardback by Little, Brown on April 14, 2015.

Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination will include the author’s speech alongside illustrations by artist Joel Holland. Holland previously worked on the cover for J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy.

In the speech, J.K. Rowling discusses the struggles she faced in her post-graduate years and how she overcame hardship. The commencement speech is available to watch on YouTube here.

From the press release:

Now published for the first time in book form, Very Good Lives offers J.K. Rowling’s words of wisdom for anyone at a turning point in life, asking the profound and provocative questions: How can we embrace failure? And how can we use our imagination to better both ourselves and others?

Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust said, “I have heard and read many commencement speeches, none more moving and memorable than J.K. Rowling’s. Years after her visit to Harvard, people still talk about it—and still find inspiration in her singular evocation of the idea that living a meaningful life so often means daring to risk failure.  What a powerful example she embodies, and what a remarkable gift her speech was, and is, for all of us privileged to hear it then—and to read it now.”

90% percent of the book’s proceeds will go to J.K. Rowling’s charity, Lumos, which helps disadvantaged children. The remaining 10% will be donated to university-wide financial aid at Harvard University. Little, Brown Book Group (UK) and Little, Brown & Company (US) are also making a donation to Lumos, which is currently undergoing a

Very Good Lives will be published worldwide in English next April, as a £9.99 (~$15-16) hardback and in e-book. It is not currently available for pre-order.

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Updated: ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ sequel announced: ‘The Silkworm’, to be released this June

The sequel to last year’s acclaimed bestseller The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith, J.K. Rowling’s pseudonym, has been announced.

The Silkworm will be released in hardcover on June 19, 2014 by Little, Brown. The book is 384 pages, making it smaller than The Cuckoo’s Calling which had 464. The publisher currently has the book priced at $28.00.

The cover:

thesilkworm

On Monday, February 17, Galbraith (Rowling) officially announced the book. Here is the synopsis that was released:

A compulsively readable crime novel with twists at every turn, The Silkworm is the second in the highly acclaimed series featuring Cormoran Strike and his determined young assistant Robin Ellacott.

When novelist Owen Quine goes missing, his wife calls in private detective Cormoran Strike. At first, she just thinks he has gone off by himself for a few days – as he has done before – and she wants Strike to find him and bring him home.

But as Strike investigates, it becomes clear that there is more to Quine’s disappearance than his wife realises. The novelist has just completed a manuscript featuring poisonous pen-portraits of almost everyone he knows. If the novel were published it would ruin lives – so there are a lot of people who might want to silence him.

And when Quine is found brutally murdered in bizarre circumstances, it becomes a race against time to understand the motivation of a ruthless killer, a killer unlike any he has encountered before…

The Silkworm will be the second novel J.K. Rowling publishes under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. Last summer, Rowling was uncovered as the author of the first book after a solicitor working with Rowling’s camp leaked the name to a friend. The novel was critically acclaimed before and after the revelation, and we expect the same for this book as well.

Are you excited for the new Cormoran Strike novel? Did you read/like The Cuckoo’s Calling? Tell us in the comments below!

Note: An earlier edition of this article stated that the book would be released on June 24, 2014, as listed on the publisher’s website. The release date that was sent out with the official announcement this morning was June 19, 2014.

The previous version also included the synopsis of the book that was on the publisher’s website — we have since changed this to match the one released today in the official announcement.

Former Sony exec named new Pottermore CEO

Susan Jurevics

Susan Jurevics

In a press release issued today, Pottermore announced that Susan Jurevics, previously a top executive at Sony, will be taking over as chief executive officer of the company.

Starting on October 1st, Jurevics will be working alongside Julian Thomas, who has been promoted to Chief Operations Officer, to run J.K. Rowling’s unique digital venture. Thomas has been acting CEO at Pottermore since Charlie Redmayne left in July.

According to the press release, over career, Susan has managed many leading entertainment, media and technology companies. Most recently she was a Senior Vice President at Sony and was in charge of marketing the brand while she was there. During this time she also led Sony’s global partnership with Pottermore. Currently based in New York, Jurevics will be moving to London to take up the position of c.e.o.

Jurevics’s comment from the press release:

“I am delighted to be joining Pottermore, a business I know well already, to take it into the next exciting stage of its development. A world of new opportunities is opening up and Pottermore will be there at the forefront of digital innovation. I’d like to thank Julian Thomas for taking the helm in the interim and I look forward to working with him, the fantastic team now in place at Pottermore, J.K. Rowling, and the team at The Blair Partnership.”

Neil Blair, chairman and cofounder of Pottermore said, “We’re delighted to welcome Susan over to Pottermore. We have enjoyed working with her at Sony and are looking forward to her leading the team into exciting new challenges. She has powerful global experience in brand and retail, as well as all the managerial attributes and creativity to steer Pottermore through an increasingly complex digital landscape.”

Although it’s interesting Pottermore chose such a close connection, its not at all surprising. Hopefully Jurevics’s experience will help her lead the company into greater success. We wish her all the best!

Update: We found an interesting video of Susan, in which she talks about marketing the Sony brand and calls for more consumer input. This is something Potter fans have been vying for since Pottermore’s launch, and Jurevics could just be the perfect person to meet their/our needs as users. (Note: video is two years old.)

Related: Charlie Redmayne resigns as C.E.O. of Pottermore

The Harry Potter Journey has been published!

The Harry Potter Journey: Volume One has been published.

The Harry Potter Journey: Volume One has been published.

Back in January we asked our readers to donate to the Harry Potter Journey fund, which would make the Harry Potter Journey website a book. With your help, that dream is now a reality, and The Harry Potter Journey: Volume One – The making of ‘The Philosopher’s Stone’ is now published.

The Harry Potter Journey is an in-depth, page-turning narrative that traces the roots of Harry Potter, from the moment of conception to present day. Not only are readers exposed to the transformation of a manuscript, but also a person: a struggling single mother with a big idea, J.K. Rowling. Through the interviews of key figures and detailed research, the author takes us on the magnificent journey that is the making of the first Harry Potter novel. The book tells a really amazing and unforgettable story about the making of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, and it is a must read for all Harry Potter fanatics.

If you want, you can purchase it at http://www.theharrypotterjourney.com for $10, using a credit card or pay pal account.

This first volume covers the story of the first book, and the second volume will focus on Chamber of Secrets and Prisoner of Azkaban. A release date has not been announced yet for the second volume.

About the Harry Potter Journey:

For the past two years, the Harry Potter Journey has been an online visual history of the writing of the Harry Potter books. It shared the complete history behind the Harry Potter books, with different editions and collector’s items, and more. In 2013 it was published in the form of a book, and is available in e-book format.

Charlie Redmayne resigns from Pottermore

Charlie Redmayne

Charlie Redmayne

As we reported last month, Charlie Redmayne has reigned from his post as chief executive officer at Pottermore. Redmayne will be leaving J.K. Rowling’s company to head Harper Collins U.K.

Taking up the position in November 2011, Redmayne transformed Pottermore.com from potential failure to a pioneer in the publishing industry, as the exclusive place to purchase Harry Potter e-books and the only place to find new information on the world of Harry Potter from the author herself.

In the interim, current chief technology officer Julian Thomas will act in Redmayne’s position.

In honor of Redmayne’s leaving, we’re counting down his top five greatest achievements as c.e.o of the company…

1. Launch of the Pottermore Shop – For the first time Harry Potter e-books were available via the Pottermore Shop when it launched in March 2012. The launch was a landmark moment for not only Harry Potter fans, but also for the publishing industry; for the first time ever, major online booksellers like BarnesandNoble.com and Amazon agreed to direct their customers to the Pottermore Shop. The Pottermore Shop also marked the first time that an author set up their own exclusive shop to sell their books – leave it to Rowling to do so! About 1.5m dollars worth of e-books were sold in the first three months, which definitely sustains its top place on this list of the CEO’s greatest achievements.

2. Launch of Pottermore.com – After months and months of waiting and anticipation, Pottermore.com was launched quietly in April 2012, under the direction of Redmayne. Millions of fans flocked to the site to read new content from J.K. Rowling and to discover the Moments. Very few moments have been like that post-Deathly Hallows, and it was exciting to see the fandom in full swing once again.

3. Release of Sony Products, Wonderbook games (Book of SpellsBook of Potions) and Pottermore at PlayStation Home – Sony was a founding partner of Pottermore, and over the past year we’ve seen the release of three fantastic products – Book of Spells for Wonderbook for PlayStation 3, and its sequel Book of Potions, and also Pottermore at PlayStation Home. All three of them are groundbreaking innovations – both of the Wonderbook augmented-reality games are the first of its kind, and Pottermore on PlayStation Home is the closest MMORPG-like atmosphere for Harry Potter that fans can get. They have also been commercially successfully, with Book of Spells selling 1 million copies last Christmas.

4. Improvements to the Pottermore site – From the beginning, you could tell that Redmayne really wanted to take advantage of Pottermore and push it to its highest potential. The improvements took form in different ways, whether it was adding sounds or audiobook snippets to the site, making easier to comment or adding the user status bar for profiles, or most recently the major revamp of the site. Not all of them were a hit with fans, but you could tell Redmayne and the whole Pottermore team tried its hardest and continues to do so.

5. Marketing of the site – During Redmayne’s tenure as c.e.o., the marketing of the site has seen a great increase. We’ve seen ads all over the web (garnered this is due in part by the tracking of our research for this site), and even on television. Pottermore has done a great job advertising on fansites and keeping fans updated. They also partnered with Barnes and Noble, which hosted a Harry Potter party last year in stores. Redmayne personally stayed on top of his game, appearing at international book fairs and publishing conferences. All of these benefited the site and the visibility of the site’s offerings.

When we talked to him this past February, Charlie named the launch of the site and recruiting a “passionate, talented, and loyal team to deliver J.K. Rowling’s vision” as his greatest accomplishments. You can read our full exclusive interview with him right here.

We are sorry to see Charlie go but wish him all the best. He’s done a fantastic job as CEO and we’re sure he’ll do the same at HarperCollins U.K.

We will be sure to share with you once a permanent replacement is announced, so stick with us at Pottermore News for the latest.

Correction: A previous version of this post said that Redmayne started in October 2011. This was wrong, as he started in November of that year.

Scholastic reveals cover for ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’

Today Scholastic unveiled the new U.S. cover of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, at Harry Potter’s birthday party at the Scholastic Headquarters in New York.

New 'Deathly Hallows' cover

The cover depicts the pivotal scene in which Harry, Ron and Hermione cling to the back of the gigantic blind dragon, “as they are carried ever closer to the pivotal battle which will determine the fate of the entire wizarding world,” the Scholastic press release reads.

The cover was designed by award winning artist Kazu Kibuishi, who designed all of the covers for Scholastic’s 15th anniversary paperback editions of the Harry Potter books. Click to the see the covers of the other six novels: Socerer’s Stone | Chamber of Secrets | Prisoner of Azkaban | Goblet of Fire | Order of the Phoenix | Half-Blood Prince

As it was announced in February, Scholastic will be releasing new paperback copies of the Harry Potter series to aim at a new generation of readers. They are timed with the 15th anniversary of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’s original publication in the United States.

Scholastic also announced that they will be unveiling the back covers for each of the book every day for the next seven days, from August 1st through 7th.  “Each day at 9 a.m. (EDT or eastern time), fans can see the amazing new Harry Potter art at www.oomscholasticblog.com,” the press release reads.

A boxed set of these editions will also be available, and will be draped with a beautiful new illustration by Kibuishi:

The artwork on the box set portrays a sweeping panorama of Hogsmeade, the picturesque village near Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry, Ron, and Hermione, as well as Dumbledore and Hagrid, walk through town, past Honeydukes Sweetshop, and Zonko’s Joke Shop. One special feature of the box set is the dramatic spine artwork which, as the volumes are placed in the order from one to seven, becomes a breathtaking view of Hogwarts at sunset. The entire box becomes an invitation to enter the enchanting world of the Harry Potter stories.

Update: Image of the boxed set (click for larger hi-res):

kkhp-box-front-lg

Click here to view it from the back

Finally, Scholastic released an image of what the back spines will depict – a breathtaking new take on Hogwarts.

Bookspines

The complete series of new books and the new boxed set will be available on August 27, 2013.

All images courtesy of Scholastic.

Mystery Twitter account that outed Robert Galbraith’s true identity revealed

J.K. Rowling, above, is "very angry" over the leak.

J.K. Rowling, above, is “very angry” over the leak.

The identity of the person behind the mystery Twitter account that ultimately led to the outing of J.K. Rowling as the author of The Cuckoo’s Calling has been revealed.

The BBC reports that the anonymous tweeter was Judith Callegari, a suburban mother of two. Callegari was told that J.K. Rowling was the true author of the book by her best friend’s husband, Chris Gossage. Gossage is a partner at Russells Solicitors, a law firm specializing in the entertainment industry.

Understandably, J.K. Rowling said in a statement that she is very angry to hear about this breach of confidentiality.

“I have today discovered how the leak about Robert’s true identity occurred. A tiny number of people knew my pseudonym and it has not been pleasant to wonder for days how a woman whom I had never heard of prior to Sunday night could have found out something that many of my oldest friends did not know.

“To say that I am disappointed is an understatement. I had assumed that I could expect total confidentiality from Russells, a reputable professional firm, and I feel very angry that my trust turned out to be misplaced.”

Russells has also released a statement regarding the situation, saying that the reveal was made during a private conversation between Gossage and a trustworthy friend, Callegari. Russells immediately contacted Rowling’s agents when they learned of the leak.

“We, Russells Solicitors, apologise unreservedly for the disclosure caused by one of our partners, Chris Gossage, in revealing to his wife’s best friend, Judith Callegari, during a private conversation that the true identity of Robert Galbraith was in fact JK Rowling.

“Whilst accepting his own culpability, the disclosure was made in confidence to someone he trusted implicitly. On becoming aware of the circumstances, we immediately notified JK Rowling’s agent. We can confirm that this leak was not part of any marketing plan and that neither JK Rowling, her agent nor publishers were in any way involved.”

Through an anonymous Twitter account, Callegari revealed to a Sunday Times journalist that J.K. Rowling was the true author of The Cuckoo’s Calling. An editor for the newspaper then did some investigating, sent other Rowling manuscripts, including Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows and The Casual Vacancy, along with The Cuckoo’s Calling, to a pair of linguistic computers. The computers verified that they were written by the same author, and, after notifying Rowling’s reps, they ran with the story on Saturday.

Since then, demand for The Cuckoo’s Calling has skyrocketed, becoming an instant bestseller. Bookstores and online retailers are completely sold out, and a second printing of 300,000 is on its way. Learn more about the leak and read all the latest news here, at our page dedicated to The Cuckoo’s Calling.

Thanks MuggleNet for the tip.

Robert Galbraith official website and Twitter launched

UK Cover of The Cuckoo's Calling

UK Cover of The Cuckoo’s Calling

The official website and Twitter account for Robert Galbraith, the pseudonym of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, has launched.

The website (www.robert-galbraith.com) includes the synopsis and reviews of The Cuckoo’s Calling and an author biography that simply states that Galbraith is a pseudonym for Rowling, along with an F.A.Q section. In this section, Rowling answers some questions about the book, writing under a pseudonym, and the book’s sequel.

From the site:

Why did you choose to write a crime novel and why under a pseudonym?

I’ve always loved reading detective fiction. Most of the Harry Potter stories are whodunits at heart (‘Order of the Phoenix’ is more of a why-did-he), but I’ve wanted to try the real thing for a long time.

As for the pseudonym, I was yearning to go back to the beginning of a writing career in this new genre, to work without hype or expectation and to receive totally unvarnished feedback. It was a fantastic experience and I only wish it could have gone on a little longer.

Why did you choose to write it as a man? Did it influence your writing in anyway?

I certainly wanted to take my writing persona as far away as possible from me, so a male pseudonym seemed a good idea. I am proud to say, though, that when I ‘unmasked’ myself to my editor David Shelley who had read and enjoyed ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ without realizing I wrote it, one of the first things he said was ‘I never would have thought a woman wrote that.’ Apparently I had successfully channeled my inner bloke!

Was revealing the true identity of Robert Galbraith not simply an elaborate marketing campaign to help boost sales?

If anyone had seen the labyrinthine plans I laid to conceal my identity (or indeed my expression when I realised that the game was up!) they would realise how little I wanted to be discovered. I hoped to keep the secret as long as possible. I’m grateful for all the feedback from publishers and readers, and for some great reviews. Being Robert Galbraith has been all about the work, which is my favourite part of being a writer. This was not a leak or marketing ploy by me, my publisher or agent, both of whom have been completely supportive of my desire to fly under the radar. If sales were what mattered to me most, I would have written under my own name from the start, and with the greatest fanfare.

At the point I was ‘outed’, Robert had sold 8500 English language copies across all formats (hardback, eBook, library and audiobook) and received two offers from television production companies. The situation was becoming increasingly complicated, largely because Robert was doing rather better than we had expected him to, but we all still hoped to keep the secret a little longer. Yet Robert’s success during his first three months as a published writer (discounting sales made after I was found out) actually compares favourably with J.K. Rowling’s success over the equivalent period of her career!

Rowling also reveals that she has just finished the sequel to Cuckoo, and it is suspected to be published next year. You can click to read more of Rowling’s answers to the F.A.Q.’s here.

As stated above, a Twitter account was also launched, and you can check “him” out @_RGalbraith. Hopefully he’ll be tweeting a little more than his creator! 🙂

Over the past weekend, J.K. Rowling was outed as the real author of The Cuckoo’s Calling over the weekend by a Sunday Times editor. You can read her statement regarding the situation, a synopsis of the book and more here, at our page dedicated to the book.

Happy Thursday!

“The Cuckoo’s Calling” to receive 300,000-copy reprint

UK Cover of The Cuckoo's Calling

UK Cover of The Cuckoo’s Calling

The Wall Street Journal reports that The Cuckoo’s Calling will receive a 300,000-copy reprint, as announced by Mulholland Books, the book’s publisher.

The Cuckoo’s Calling is currently sold out on Barnes and Noble.com and Amazon.com, and print copies are running scarce after the announcement that J.K. Rowling was the true author of the novel. New copies of the book will begin to ship later this week.

On Saturday, the Sunday Times revealed that J.K. Rowling was the real author behind The Cuckoo’s Calling, using Robert Galbraith as a pseudonym. Prior to the announcement, The Cuckoo’s Calling has received universal praise but the sales have been far from stellar, especially on Rowling standards. Sales reports have varied, with numbers between 500 to 1,500 copies sold.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the publisher has declined to say how many hardcover editions of the book are currently in print in the U.S. “Over the weekend, a spokeswoman for Barnes & Noble described the book as a slow seller until the Sunday Times (London) unveiled Ms. Rowling as the author,” the article reports.

There has already been confirmation that J.K. Rowling will be noted as the real author in the author biography. In other words, the book and its sequels will continue to be written and published under the name of Robert Galbraith.

Here’s to hoping everyone will receive their copies soon!

J.K. Rowling breaks silence and tweets about “The Cuckoo’s Calling”

Stop whatever you’re doing! J.K. Rowling has tweeted.

 

In response to the recent news that Rowling was in fact the author of the newly-released, critically acclaimed crime novel The Cuckoo’s Calling, J.K. Rowling has released a full statement on her website explaining how she feels about the leak.

“I hoped to keep this secret a little longer, because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience! It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback from publishers and readers under a different name. The upside of being rumbled is that I can publicly thank my editor David Shelley, who has been a true partner in crime, all those people at Little, Brown who have been working so hard on The Cuckoo’s Calling without realising that I wrote it, and the writers and reviewers, both in the newspapers and online, who have been so generous to the novel.  And to those who have asked for a sequel, Robert fully intends to keep writing the series, although he will probably continue to turn down personal appearances.”  

Please note that this statement is one that was already released to the Sunday Times, who broke the story.

On Saturday, the Sunday Times revealed that J.K. Rowling was the real author behind The Cuckoo’s Calling, using Robert Galbraith as a pseudonym. The Cuckoo’s Calling has received universal praise and good sale numbers, considering Galbraith was a debut novelist writing crime fiction, a genre not doing very well these days.