Publisher who discovered the Harry Potter books visits Preston for talk

A British publisher who first discovered the Harry Potter books is coming to Preston for a talk.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 6th June 2018, 8:30 pm
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 6:06 pm
Barry Cunningham
Barry Cunningham

Barry Cunningham was working at Bloomsbury when he signed JK Rowling and published Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 1997.

The former editor will be in conversation with AJ Hartley, author of bestseller Cold Bath Street which is set in Preston, on Wednesday, July 18.

Debbie Williams, head of Publishing at The University of Central Lancashire, used to be the children’s buyer for Waterstones when the Harry Potter books came onto the scene and organised all the midnight launches.

AJ Hartley

She said: “We are the publisher of Cold Bath Street, by Preston author A J Hartley. Harry Potter means a great deal to the author personally so it’s wonderful to be able to put them together.

"There are common themes in the books - mainly displacement and a feeling of not belonging. The author left Preston for America a while back and now feels like a ghost when he returns. Harry also felt out of place until he goes to Hogwarts.

"Barry does not do many events at all so this is a real honour to have him in Preston and to be able to ask him all the questions about Rowling and the Potter days.

"He worked with Rowling very closely for many years having found her for Bloomsbury and they are still very good friends.”

After the event Barry will be announcing the shortlist for a spooky writing competition.

The evening takes place at The Harris Museum and Gallery between 6pm and 7.30pm.