May 20, 2013


Publishing a book–a well-read book at that–is a mystery to most. For instance, what does an author think or feel when reflecting upon a physical copy of their work? Answering that question, fifty popular authors decided to annotate their first editions of a singular work in order to raise money for the English PEN, a writers’ rights group.

Much buzz surrounds the innovative fundraiser, especially with big names such as J.K. Rowling (who annotates the first edition of “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”) headlining the list of books available at auction. Other authors include Kazuo Ishiguro, Margaret Atwood, Thomas Keneally, Hilary Mantel, and Helen Fielding–author of Bridget Jones’s Diary.

The annotations include backstory as to how certain bits came into being (Rowling invented the mythical sport of Quidditch after a fight with her boyfriend), how titles were conjured (Ishiguro asked writer-colleagues for ideas out of context), as well as personal anecdotes (Fielding describes fascinating interactions with Hugh Grant).

Read full article here, or browse the annotations online.

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