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J.K. Rowling in Nepal as Pottermania grips the nation


Acclaimed novelist J.K. Rowling arrived in Kathmandu on Friday putting the Himalayan nation well and truly under her spell.

Rowling traveled to Nepal in a private jet with her husband, Neil Murray, and her three children. Author of the beloved Harry Potter series, she participated in a welcome program organized by the Kathmandu-based British School where she read excerpts from her first book and interacted with an audience of over 400 students.

Rowling during the G200 Celebrations in Kathmandu. Photo by Dinesh Gole.

Rowling during the G200 Celebrations in Kathmandu. Photo by Dinesh Gole.

On Saturday she attended the 200th Anniversary of Gurkha Service to the Crown at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, where she participated as a chief guest. The Gurkhas have been employed as an integral part of the British Army since the early 19th Century. Today they play an important role in British Army commitments, serving in the Gulf, the Falklands, and Afghanistan.

“This year, Gurkhas will have served in the British Army for two centuries. We asked Rowling to be our chief guest and she kindly accepted,” Manoj Mohara, Gurkha Major for the British Army told the Baltic Review.

It was on a delayed train from Manchester to London in 1990 that the idea of boy wizard Harry Potter popped into J.K Rowling’s mind. She famously wrote chunks of the books in Edinburgh’s cafes, starting a literary career that has metamorphosed into something even beyond her wildest imagination.

The seven fantasy novels have become the best-selling book series in history and the Harry Potter series went on to become the highest-grossing film series of all time.

Harry Potter fans waiting for Rowling in front of her hotel in Kathmandu. Photo by Dinesh Gole.

Potter fans waiting for Rowling in front of her hotel in Kathmandu. Photo by Dinesh Gole.

Pottermania has swept the globe, wrapping adults and children from London to Kathmandu in its magic charm. A group of young fans waited for more than 12 hours in front of Rowling’s hotel in the hope of getting a signed copy of her books.

“I grew up with her the Harry Potter series and I am really sad that I haven’t managed to meet her [Rowling] today. We even asked the security guard if he could convey our messages, but she hasn’t come out of the hotel yet,” Prerana Adhikari, a college student, told the Baltic Review.

In February 2008, Rowling and Sunbird, a publishing house which is committed to bring out books in Nepali for children and teenagers in rural areas, signed an agreement to publish the Nepali edition of the Harry Potter series for a `nominal’ royalty. The first ‘Nepali Potter’, priced at less than 2$, was launched in 2012.

Bibbi Abruzzini
Bibbi Abruzzini is a foreign correspondent for the BALTIC REVIEW and international news agencies in South Asia. She is Italian, grew up in Brussels and has reported from several countries, including Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Croatia, France, India, Italy, Lebanon, Nepal, Tunisia,Turkey and the US - writing largely about social and development issues.

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