Skip to main content

ALERT: KPBS 89.5FM is undergoing scheduled upgrade work which may result in a temporary signal outage. Click here to listen on our radio stream.

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

On Harry Potter’s 20th Anniversary, Listen To His NPR Debut

Photo caption:

Photo by Alex Wong Getty Images

Copies of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, on sale in an Arlington, Virginia bookstore in 2000.

Audio

Audio

The first book of the Harry Potter series went on sale in the U.K. 20 years ago today. It offers a convenient excuse to reacquaint yourself with a world before anyone on this side of the Atlantic had heard of muggles, horcruxes or pensieves, before tourists would crowd into London's Kings Cross railway station simply to peer wistfully at the space between Platforms Nine and Ten.

Here's the first story NPR ever aired about Harry Potter — a wonderful piece by the late Margot Adler, from All Things Considered in 1998.

Some gems, from that bygone era:

  • "Most people in the U.S. have never heard of Harry Potter. It's not a title you see in the window at your local Barnes & Noble."
  • Rowling's recollection of how Harry came to her while she stared out a train window at some cows.
  • Margot Adler's uncannily accurate prediction that the word "muggle" will become a Whole Big Thing.
  • A Q and A session in which a kid asks Rowling about her writing, and Rowling reads the Reptile House scene from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
  • A quote from a bookstore manager marveling at the fact that they've sold "hundreds" of copies.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

FEATURED PODCAST

San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Curious San Diego banner

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.