3rd Annual Summit on Research and Teaching of Young Adult Literature: Coming this June to UNLV.


I was delighted to learn yesterday that my proposal for a panel on Young Adult Literature: a Tool for Empathy Development? was accepted for the 2020 UNLV Summit on Research and Teaching of Young Adult Literature,  I will be presenting with Dr. Kia Jane Richmond, author of Mental Illness in Young Adult Literature: Exploring Real Struggles Through Fictional Characters.

I presented my work on PTSD in young adult literature (including Harry Potter, of course) at the inaugural summit two years ago, which, as some of you may remember, attracted some criticism for featuring authors that one particular journalist found overly dark and distressing. The fact that the editorial writer did not even attend the Summit did not stop him speculating  that immersion in the “unsavory worldviews” seen in some books of the keynote authors is a likely contributor to mental illness in adolescent readers.  In fact, my own research and that of many others suggests just the opposite.

I hope teachers, readers and other people interested in the societal impact of young adult literature will join us at the summit. Along with the academics, there will be a number of amazing authors present, including Ashley Hope Perez (whose incredible Out of Darkness I would like to see as required reading for university students),  Chris Crowe (his Death Coming Up the Hill can, like Harry Potter, be appreciated by everyone from Boomers to Millennials), Matt de la Pena (Newbery winner whose The Living has been featured here on Hogpro) and more.

The conference is reasonably priced, and lots of fun. And the Las Vegas strip is a short Uber-hop away.

Title of Cormoran Strike 5 Released; Readers Jump in with Speculation About Its Meaning

Breaking news today that the title of the next Cormoran Strike book will be Troubled Blood.  Your Hogpro faculty were too busy to post on this earlier today, but thankfully some of our Serious Striker readers have already chimed in comments section as to what this might mean.

I’m reprinting a few of the comments here, so discussion  of the title and what it could represent can take place in a centralized location.  Please check all of the comments out, and add your own!  Thanks and a toast of Doom Bar to all who have begun the sleuthing process!

[Read more…]

What is the Place of Pottermania in the Cormoran Strike World?

In the first Reading Writing Rowling podcast on Cormoran Strike, we speculated about whether the Harry Potter phenomenon would ever be mentioned in the Robert Galbraith series. The series is well-known for including mention of contemporary news stories in the series: William and Kate’s engagement and marriage, the shutdown of the News of the World amid the phone-tapping scandal, the London Olympics. But, there has been no mention another major news event of the time: the premiere of the final Harry Potter movies. Deathly Hallows Part 1  opened on the day of the Roper Chard party in The Silkworm; Part 2 would have premiered during the prologue of Lethal White, when Robin was nursing Matthew back to health after his encounter with the sea-borne bacteria.  Save a mention of Emma Watson on a real-life magazine cover–at the same time Charlotte Campbell graced the cover of the fictional Tatler–there has been no hint of the Harry Potter phenomenon in any of the Strike books. It was Dr. Karen Keblare’s opinion, and I think the rest of us concurred, that Mr. Galbraith would probably avoid the awkwardness that mention of Ms. Rowling’s creation would bring.

That doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t wonder, though.  Overlapping key Harry Potter dates on the Strike books’ timeline shows that Robin would have been prime Generation Hex age, as a twelve-year-old schoolgirl at the time of Philosopher’s Stone’s publication. As a straight-A student with an inquisitive mind and a thirst for mysteries, it is highly likely she would have been a fan of the series. Moreover, she would have been near the end of secondary school and preparing for university when the three-year book drought was broken by the publication of Order of the Phoenix. This puts the start of her university career, the rape, and Matthew’s first betrayal during the gap between Order of the Phoenix and the Half-Blood Prince. 

Once you realize that, it becomes easy to imagine Robin as a Potterphile, and even speculate that she, like many other readers, found the series a source of comfort after trauma. I’ll admit that idea has been percolating in my head for some time.  Therefore, when I saw a fan-fiction challenge to write a short, romantic story with the prompt of “That Touch of Magic,” I saw an opportunity to flesh out this idea a bit.  Thus, I have written my first real fan-fiction in probably a quarter of a century, and the first not to involve a DC Comics character. As you can see, I took the opportunity to plug Hogwartsprofessor.com, pull an extensive Mary-Sue on Robin by letting her write my own paper, and even give Strike a chance to meet his own author.

Please check it out and comment, here or there.  It is quite G-rated, except for a few of Strike’s usual swear words. And be assured, I have no intention of contributing further to his particular genre.

Chosen Ones Quotation Release

Hot on the heels of the Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes excerpt, we get a thesis statement from Veronica Roth about her new book.

The author goes on to say, on her Facebook post:

Every book I write has a couple quotes that are almost like thesis statements. It’s not intentional; I find them when I’m done, these moments of writing when I really figured out what I was trying to say and winnowed it down to just a few words. This is one of the Chosen Ones thesis statements. *
*
Sloane isn’t the one who says this, it’s one of the other Chosen Ones, the one for whom this sentiment is the most appropriate…but it speaks for all of them. The book is FUN, and funnier than anything else I’ve written, and it’s also about this– about the cost of shouldering burdens at a young age, the cost of surviving that. The cost of saving the world. They paid it so other people didn’t have to.

Have I mentioned I’m looking forward to this?  Oh yeah, I have. Between this and the Hunger Games prequel, I’m going to be partying like its 2011.

Add a possible Cormoran Strike 5 and I might just swoon.

 

Papanatas! Llorones! Baratijas! Pellizco!: A “few words” in Spanish.

I have made it through the first audiobook reading of Harry Potter y la piedra filosofil, and was pleasantly surprised at how much I could understand, given the length of time since I have done any serious Spanish study. I am now working my way through a second time slowly, listening to the audiobook while reading along with the text. I have made it through the first seven chapters, through the much more alliterative “Sombrero Seleccionador” chapter. I have picked up a few interesting tidbits that I would like to share.

First, I am reading a print translation from Spain, while the audio version appears to come from the Americas, which probably accounts for some of the vocabulary differences: the use of medias versus calcitines for socks, for example. Most notably, the print version distinguishes between the familiar (vosotros) and formal (ustedes) plural you’s, as is preferred in Spain, whereas the audio version uses ustedes for both, as is common in Latin America. I had already mentioned that audio uses buho for owl, and the print lechuza, but interestingly, Hedwig is called una lechuza in both versions. This seems to be correct, since Hedwig, as a snowy owl, lacks ear tufts.

I noticed that, when Hagrid turns up on the Hut-on-a-Rock, Harry addresses him as usted, the formal you that would be typical for a child speaking politely to an unfamiliar adult. When Harry wakes up the next morning, he switches to the familiar tu, the pronoun a child would use for an adult more emotionally close to them. Thus, Spanish readers have a clue that Harry has come to trust Hagrid fully, even before Rowling tells us a few pages later.

Other differences cannot be explained as simple European-American language differences.  For instance, the print version makes a small but significant change to Hagrid’s line:

“What? My — my mum and dad weren’t famous, were they?” “Yeh don’ know . . . yeh don’ know . . .” Hagrid ran his fingers through his hair, fixing Harry with a bewildered stare. “Yeh don’ know what yeh are?” he said finally.

The print version changes the last to “No sabes lo que ellos eran?”–  or “You don’t know what they were?”  — making this line about James and Lily, in the past, not Harry, in the present.

Some even more intriguing gleanings from the Spanish translation after the jump. [Read more…]