New Harry Potter story in July

Nine years after publication of the last novel in the best-selling series about the boy wizard, what has been billed as the "epic eighth Harry Potter story" will be published worldwide in July.

Harry Potter And The Cursed Child Parts I & II, a script version of the upcoming, sold-out London play, will be published in physical book form in North America and Britain, and globally as a digital e-book. The book will read like a play rather than a narrative novel.

The play, based on an idea by author J.K. Rowling, is set 19 years after Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows. It features a grown-up Potter as an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic and father of three children who is grappling "with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs", United States publishers Scholastic, British publishers Little, Brown and global digital company Pottermore said last Wednesday.

Mr David Shelley, chief executive of Little, Brown Book Group, said: "J.K. Rowling and her team have received a huge number of appeals from fans who can't be in London to see the play and who would like to read the play in book format - and so we are absolutely delighted to be able to make it available for them."

Fans were delighted. "On behalf of all potterheads, thank you thank you very much indeed. OMG I'm so happy," tweeted Lazi last Wednesday.

The book script will be published on July 31, Potter's fictional birthday, and the play opens in London the day after.

The play, which stars Jamie Parker as Potter and black actress Noma Dumezweni as an adult Hermione Granger, is sold out through to next January. The original Hermione was played in the movies by Emma Watson, who is white.

The production opens ahead of this November's movie version of Rowling's Potter spin-off book Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, starring Eddie Redmayne, and the April opening of a second Harry Potter attraction within a theme park at Universal Studios in Los Angeles.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 12, 2016, with the headline 'New Harry Potter story in July'. Print Edition | Subscribe