Arts and Culture

National Library of Scotland to host exhibition to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter book

The National Library of Scotland is to host a “pop-up” exhibition to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter book’s publication.

The centrepiece will be a rare first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone complete with JK Rowling’s drawings and personal notes, including one that says the book “changed my life forever”.

Visitors can also see the first copy of the sixth book in the series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which Rowling signed and donated to the library in 2005. It will be displayed alongside a paperback edition of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a collection of fairytales that the Edinburgh author launched at the library with a special reading to a group of schoolchildren.

As part of the exhibition, curators will highlight the global impact of the bestselling series of all time. Some of the 70 translations will go on display, with differing book covers and designs. Adult copies and fully illustrated editions of the Harry Potter books by the artist Jim Kay will also be on display.

In an effort to relay the significance of the books, curators have included a number of academic texts on the series and a 1998 cover of Time magazine, which was dedicated to the boy wizard.

Fans are encouraged to dress up as wizards and witches to help recapture the “Potter-mania” that spread when the books were first released.

Graeme Hawley, the library’s modern collections manager, said: “The print run for the first Harry Potter book ran to only 500 copies and no one had any idea 20 years ago that it would become the phenomenon it is today. It’s something to celebrate.”

The items will be on display in the library’s boardroom on George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, from 12 noon until 7pm on June 26. Entry is free.