Howdy, do you speak American? Or do you prefer conversing in Estuary English with some Cockney rhyming slang thrown in? The Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw once observed that “England and America are two countries separated by the same language”. If the modern publishing industry is anything to go by, then this sentiment certainly applies to the large numbers of books edited in both British and American English.
Book marketing and editing often reflects the assumption that British and American readers have different tastes. One of the most famous examples of a book being edited specifically for an American audience is ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ by J. K. Rowling which was published as ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’ in the United States to be “more suggestive of magic” than its original title. Numerous other words in the main text were also changed so that Harry and his Hogwarts chums (sorry, friends) ate candy rather than sweets, studied for their exams instead of revising for them and went on vacation rather than holiday. Continue reading
It was announced on Wednesday that the script of ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ will be published on Sunday 31st July, the day after the world premiere of the new play in London’s West End. The publishers Little, Brown have confirmed that a special rehearsal edition of the script is being printed in response to massive public demand from fans around the world followed by a definitive collector’s edition at a later date. Set nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts, Harry Potter is now an “overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic” while his youngest son Albus “must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted”.
J. K. Rowling’s first novel for adults, ‘The Casual Vacancy’, opens with the sudden death of Barry Fairweather, a popular local parish councillor. This event sends shockwaves through the small town of Pagford and the upcoming election sharply divides the community, particularly with regard to the future of a nearby council estate known as The Fields.
Today, I woke up to the news that J. K Rowling has published a crime novel called ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ under the name Robert Galbraith. Published about three months ago, the book has so far sold about 1,500 copies in hardback and tells the story of a war veteran turned private investigator. The publisher’s website confirmed that Robert Galbraith was a pseudonym but the true identity of the author has only just been revealed today. Continue reading