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!

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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.

Guest Post: Keats Epigraphs in Strike5?

Why John Keats “May” Provide Epigraphs (and other materials) for Strike Five

By ChrisC

A recent theory on this site is that Marilyn Manson’s lyrics will form the epigraphs for the next Cormoran Strike Mystery. I have an alternate take on that subject, however. What if the poetry of John Keats is what readers have to look forward to, at least in terms of thematic chapter-header quotes in Book 5?

My reasons for bringing this up center around one of the author’s clues and the literary subject matter attached to it. The clue was Ms. Rowling’s brochure for the Chelsea Physic Garden. It was founded by the Society of Apothecaries in 1837, and Keats was an intern there as part of his early medical studies. His notebooks demonstrate a remarkable knowledge of pharmacology, and both Hermione De Almeida and Jennifer M. Wunder have shown that Keats’ medical studies intertwined with his neo-Platonic-hermetic poetical interests. In addition to this, Keats was not the only Rowling linked artist to be related to the Chelsea Garden. There is one other author who, along with Keats, may form a major part of the fifth book’s creative compost. To find out more about this, and how Agatha Christie may have a part to play, join me after the jump. [Read more…]

Guest Post: The March Family from ‘Little Women’ and The Weasleys

David Martin has been thinking about Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, forgive me for assuming it is because of the new movie adaptation, and left his reflections about the March family and the Weasleys on a comment thread beneath my 2011 post, ‘Little Women and Harry Potter: Jo Rowling is Jo March.‘ With his permission and reformatting, I have bumped it into its own post so that more readers will see it. Enjoy!

Little Women is the story of a family more than it is the story of any one individual. Although the Harry Potter books are mostly about Harry Potter, there is also within them a story about the Weasley family. If we look at the stories of those two families – the Marchs and the Weasleys – there are a number of similarities.

Both families are ruled by the mother.

  • Molly Weasley clearly runs the Wesley family
  • Marmee runs the March family.

Both families have mostly or entirely children of one gender.

  • The Weasleys have six sons and one daughter.
  • The Marchs have four daughters.

Both families take an interest in (and almost adopt) an outsider who then spends a lot of time at their house.

  • The Weasleys take in Harry.
  • The Marchs take in Laurie.

In both family stories, that outsider has lost mother and father and is living with his relatives.

  • Harry lives with the Dursleys
  • Laurie lives with his grandfather.

Both families are poor but kind.

  • The Weasleys take care of Harry.
  • The Marchs give away their Christmas breakfast and perform many other acts of charity.

In both families, some (or one) of the children are (or is) obsessed with making money.

  • For the Weasleys, that would be Fred and George.
  • For the Marchs, that would be Jo.

Both families are in a way elite.

  • The Weasleys are pure blood.
  • The Marchs are part of the intellectual or scholarly elite.

For both families, there is a time when the father is very sick and the mother goes to be with him.

  • When Arthur Weasley is bitten by Nagini in Order, Molly goes to St. Mungo’s hospital to be with him.
  • When Mr. March is taken ill during the Civil War, Marmee goes to the hospital in Washington to be with him.

In both families, the oldest child marries, and that wedding is described in detail.

  • Bill Weasley marries Fleur Delacour.
  • Meg March marries John Brooke.

In both families, when the other children marry, it happens “off-stage.”

  • Ron, Percy, and Ginny marry, but we don’t see those weddings.
  • Amy gets married in Paris. Jo marries sometime in the “Harvest Time” chapter at the end of Little Women. We don’t see any of those wedding.

In both families, one of the children dies.

  • Fred Weasley dies in the Battle of Hogwarts.
  • The chapter entitled “The Valley of the Shadow” describes Beth’s death.

In both families, the youngest child in the family marries the outsider.

  • Ginny Weasley marries Harry. (Maybe that’s why the Weasley family needed a girl?)
  • Amy March marries Laurie.

In both families, one of the children marries a really brainy spouse.

  • Ron Weasley marries Hermione.
  • Jo March marries Professor Bhaer.

In both families, one of the children marries a foreigner.

  • Bill Weasley marries a French woman, Fleur Delacour.
  • Jo March marries a German man, Friedrich Bhaer.

At the end of the stories, we see the extended form of both families.

  • In the epilogue chapter, we see the extended Weasley family putting their children on the Hogwarts express. Ginny’s children are there. Ron’s children are there. Percy is heard, so at least one child of his must be there. Bill’s daughter Victoire is there. So that’s four of the Weasley children and at least seven grandchildren if I’ve counted correctly. And considering the news that James is eager to share about Victoire and Teddy Lupin, maybe the Weasley family will be extending further.
  • In the “Harvest Time” chapter at the end of Little Women, we see the extended March family celebrating together, three daughters, three sons-in-law, and at least five grandchildren if I’ve counted correctly.

For both families it appears that the parents (now grandparents) are alive and well at the end of the story. We are told this explicitly about the Marchs in “Harvest Time” chapter of Little Women. During the epilogue chapter of Harry Potter, Rose is warned that “Granddad Weasley” would never forgive her if she married a pureblood, so clearly Arthur Weasley is still alive. Let’s assume that Molly Weasley is too.

Maybe we should call the series The Weasley Family Saga.

—– David Martin of Hufflepuff