I’m coming to this story a little late, but it turns out to be just as well that I waited it out, as you’ll see by the end of the post.
In case you hadn’t heard it elsewhere yet, J.K. Rowling has written another short story set in the world of Harry Potter. This one, unlike the Beedle the Bard stories auctioned for charity last year, feels much closer to the ‘present’ day. Instead of a small collection of remote fairy tales (serving as background material for Harry Potter), this 800-word story tells us about a brief encounter between Sirius Black and James Potter and a paid of clumsy, buffoonish Muggle police officers. One of the officers even shares my last name! :)
The story was auctioned by Waterstone’s to benefit English PEN and Dyslexia Action along with twelve other stories — including contributions by Neil Gaiman, Margaret Atwood, Nick Hornby, Tom Stoppard, and winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Literature, Doris Lessing. All are worth reading — if you can decipher their handwriting! — but I particularly enjoyed the Gaiman and Hornby stories (if that’s what you’d call Hornby’s strange little work). There’s even a competition where you can submit your own story, here, which could be chosen to appear alongside the baker’s dozen. But act quickly! The deadline is June 19.
Rowling’s story — one of only two that ran on the front and back of the note card — sold for £25,000 (about $49,000 USD), accounting for more than half the total proceeds of the auction. That’s about $60 per word! Nice work if you can get it, eh? And not terribly surprising. The story is cute, and as we all know, the real world hasn’t gotten nearly enough of the Harry Potter world yet. You can read the entire story, as well as the other twelve, here. The link requires Flash; alternatively, you can read the Harry Potter story here.