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A loud presentation of the final part of the “Harry Potter” book series

Sep 25, 2007, Anton Shulha for the “Democratic Ukraine” newspaper
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For the first time the soundtracks to Harry Potter fiction film by the Oscar-winning composer John Williams sounded live in Ukraine

“The dedication of this book is split seven ways: to Neil, to Jessica, to David, to Kenzie, to Di, to Anne, and to you, if you have stick with Harry until the very end.”
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J.K. Rowling in the whole world and Ivan Malkovych Ivan Malkovych (head of A-BA-BA-HA-LA-MA-HA Publishers), Victor Morozov (the translator of the Harry Potter book series) and Oleksa Nehrebetsky (the editor of the series) in Ukraine did a good thing – they “infected” another generation with passion to traditional reading. Moreover, the Ukrainian publishers performed another mission: it’s not only reading itself that became prestigious, but reading in Ukrainian. This is the third book in a row that our young fellow citizens read in Ukrainian earlier than their Russian or Polish peers.

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It is hard to believe now, but A-BA-BA-HA-LA-MA-HA got off the mark in those several years of a marathon in honor of Harry Potter when most of the competitors have already covered half of the distance. The first book about the English boy was presented on the night of April 13th to 14th, 2002. Most of the European countries had published or were going to publish the fourth book at the time; the Russians were selling the third volume easily throughout Ukraine. Ukraine seemed to have lost in the affair.

Nevertheless, Ukraine rose to the fore when it came to publishing the fifth “Harry Potter” book – our children had read “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix” just after the English, they read “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince” the same week as their French and German peers. And the seventh Ukrainian Harry Potter came out the first – a decade earlier than the Turkish translation and nearly three weeks earlier than his Russian counterpart.

The Ukrainian Harry Potter has yet another unique feature: unlike most other editions, our young wizard is original. The standard American book covers are used practically everywhere, except for Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan and… Ukraine. For those who gather all the seven “Harry potter” books, the illustrator Vladyslav Yerko prepared yet another surprise: the backbones of all volumes constitute one more, additional picture. By the way, the Ukrainian Harry Potter’s “appearance” was highly acclaimed by J. K. Rowling herself: the last pictures taken in the library of the author show the cover by Vladyslav Yerko turned face side to the guest.

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The readers of “Harry Potter” have grown up side-by-side with their hero. So, no wonder that on September, 25th there were senior schoolchildren and university students along with youngsters in “The Ukrainian House” watching and taking part in the 7-th Harry Potter volume presentation. The winner of the Harry Potter twin competition turned out to be Harry Potter’s coeval. He was also the first to receive the book as a present. Afterwards, seven more lucky guys won the prize, answering quiz questions.

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The premiere performance of the soundtracks to Harry Potter feature films became a perfect frame of the presentation. The National Presidential Orchestra of Ukraine, led by Tetyana Kalynychenko was creating an unforgettable atmosphere. (That is to say, it was Mrs. Kalynychenko’s initiative to – thanks to the patronage project “The “Babylon” Art-Collection” – use the sheet music directly from Hollywood with an exclusive license to perform it in Ukraine).

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And then it was like in Britain, the USA and other English-speaking countries – a queue of those wishing to read the book first and the autograph session of parents of the Ukrainian Harry Potter.

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Tetyana Kalynychenko and Ivan Malkovych

Anton Shulha

The Ukrainian Harry Potter in facts and figures:

  • The initial circulation of the seventh volume is 100 000 copies.
  • The Ukrainians became the world's first readers of the fifth volume translation.
  • They were one of the first to read the sixth book.
  • The Ukrainian seventh “Harry Potter” volume was again the world’s first translation.
  • The total circulation of all the seven volumes of the Ukrainian “Harry Potter” is rapidly approaching a million copies.
  • The books about Harry Potter top the Ukrainian book sales ratings.
  • The Ukrainian “Harry Potter” has been winning flawlessly in the appropriate nominations at Lviv Publishers’ Forum and at the “Book of the Year” competition.