Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, with JK Rowling scribblings, visits Edinburgh

By Culture24 Reporter | 29 January 2014

Author JK Rowling writes that Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone "changed my life forever" in a first edition of the book going on brief display in Edinburgh

A photo of a female author smiling
JK Rowling dreamed up much of the Harry Potter series in Edinburgh© Daniel Ogren
A coat of arms, a comment that the book “changed my life forever” and pages full of notes and drawings all adorn the first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, covered in scribblings by JK Rowling and loaned to Scotland’s National Library for a week by its anonymous buyer.

A photo of a book with scribblings and drawings on its front cover
© Courtesy Sotheby's
Personal annotations by the idolised author, who wrote much of the series in cafes around Edinburgh, include explanations of how she invented the Quidditch sport played by characters in the all-conquering books.

There are more than 20 drawings, as well as references to the cinema-cramming film adaptations. The crest and life-changing confessions are visible on the front page.

The book sold for £150,000 in an auction at Sotheby’s last year, but will be shown for seven days only as part of an exhibition devoted to writers, Wha’s Like Us?

“Thanks to the generosity of the new owner, we are able to add this wonderful item to an exhibition which celebrates amazing achievements by Scots or from Scotland,” says co-curator Andrew Martin.

“The global phenomenon that is Harry Potter was already featured in the exhibition but this unique first edition makes it all the more special.”

The proceeds from the sale were given to the English Pen writers’ association and Rowling's own children’s charity, Lumos.

  • On display from January 30 2014. Wha’s like us? A Nation of Dreams and Ideas continues until May 18.

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