The Blair Partnership, J.K. Rowling’s literary and brand management agency, has announced the launch of a publishing program of new print and digital titles from J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. The new program will debut at 12:01 a.m. on July 31, 2016 with the publication of a “special rehearsal edition” of the script book of the stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts I & II, which begins its run at London’s Palace Theatre this summer. This new hardcover print version of the play will be released in the U.S. and Canada under Scholastic’s Arthur A. Levine Books imprint and will retail for $29.99 in the U.S. and $39.99 in Canada.
The play, written by Jack Thorne, is based on an original story by Rowling, Thorne, and John Tiffany, which catches up with Harry Potter 19 years after the epilogue in the final book of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Now a husband, father of three, and an overworked employee at the Ministry of Magic, Harry must continually grapple with his past while his youngest son, Albus, struggles with a weighty and unwanted family legacy.
The “special rehearsal edition” book arrives the day after the show formally opens in London’s West End on July 30, and will consist of the play’s script from the stage production’s early preview period, which is subject to change as the creative team finalizes things in the weeks prior to opening night. An e-book version of the “special rehearsal edition” will be simultaneously available via Pottermore, Rowling’s digital publishing, e-commerce, entertainment, and news company, in collaboration with Scholastic in the U.S. and Canada, and the Little, Brown Book Group in the U.K. (which will publish the U.K. print version). According to the Blair Partnership, this joint publishing project is a response to “massive public demand” and is designed to bring the new Harry Potter story to fans around the world who may not be able to see the stage version. The “special rehearsal edition” will be available for a limited time, and will be replaced by a “definitive collector’s edition” at a date to be announced.
Ellie Berger, president of Scholastic Trade, said in a statement, “As the U.S. print publisher, Scholastic introduced Harry Potter and J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World to American readers nearly 20 years ago and experienced firsthand the anticipation and excitement of the publication of each of the books over the years. We are thrilled to publish Harry Potter and the Cursed Child this summer.”
Among the publishing program’s additional Wizarding World titles that will be rolled out into 2019 by Bloomsbury in the U.K. and Scholastic in the U.S. are new editions of the Hogwarts Library books, including an edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, planned for 2017, which contains new content from Rowling; the next illustrated volume, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, illustrated by Jim Kay (October 2016); and licensed tie-ins to the Warner Bros. feature film adaptation of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (for which Rowling penned the screenplay), set for release in the U.S. and U.K. theaters on November 18, 2016.