Monday, 30th October 2017

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Popular page-turners come back on digital platforms in new ways

J.K. Rowling and the Blair Project's 'Harry Potter at Home' has multiple activities launched for free access

  • Published 15.05.20, 10:25 PM
  • Updated 15.05.20, 10:25 PM
  • 3 mins read
Sourced by the Telegraph

There is always something fun to do online thanks to initiatives by bookstores like Starmark who are trying their best to add value to their patrons’ lives in the middle of this pandemic. The doors of the bookstores may be temporarily shut but that doesn’t deter them from hosting engaging sessions for all, online. Not just by posting engaging content on social media, but also arranging interactive events for all, was the agenda for the month of April. On World Books Day on April 23, Starmark invited advertising professional, cartoonist, actor, poet, and scriptwriter Arthur Cardazo to hold a special bookmark-making session for kids. Mira Kakkar, an advertising professional with extensive experience with behaviour change communication, conducted a storytelling session and a dramatised reading of Jerome K. Jerome’s Three Men on a Boat by actor and investment banker Pradip Mitra. Gautam Jatia, CEO, Starmark, said, “In these tough times, we at Starmark believe that activities such as reading, arts and crafts provide a welcome relief and stimulate the mind towards creativity and positivity.” More such digital events are expected to be conducted on the Starmark Facebook page.

Satyajit Ray’s 99th birthday on May 2 was celebrated by Stamark in association with Penguin Random House India by launching the ebook of The Final Adventures of Professor Shonku, the last volume of Professor Shonku’s escapades, featuring the untranslated classic sci-fi stories along with original artworks by Satyajit Ray himself. The digital launch of the book was hosted on the Starmark Facebook page by Dhritiman Chatterji, along with author Arunava Sinha who read portions of the book. Published by Puffin, Penguin’s childrens’ imprint, this book is a companion volume to the hugely popular Diary of a Space Traveller and Other Stories, The Unicorn Expedition and Other Stories and The Mystery of Munroe Island and Other Stories, thereby completing all 38 adventures of the madcap professor Shonku to be translated to English and published.

“The stories in this volume take you to Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, London, Singapore, and the Pacific Ocean. The volume begins with an escapade translated by Satyajit Ray himself and the concluding and introspective adventure in this book begins at his cosy house in Giridih but the action starts to unfold from Jharkhand and takes you to London and Berlin with a nail-biting finish. This latest volume is bound to give sheer joy, enchantment and inspiration to this new generation of Shonku followers,” said Indrani Majumdar, the translator of the stories. With illustrations in the book by Ray himself, this sure makes for a collectors’ edition, albeit on your electronic reading devices.

(L-R) Dakota Fanning, David Beckham, Stephen Fry and Daniel Radcliffe
(L-R) Dakota Fanning, David Beckham, Stephen Fry and Daniel Radcliffe Sourced by the Telegraph

To help alleviate the problems that have come with parenting during this difficult time, J.K. Rowling and the Blair Project decided to create and distribute a temporary special license to the Harry Potter books for easy access. Titled Harry Potter at Home, a website has been created of the same name with multiple activities and initiatives launched for free access. On May 5, the most interesting addition was announced to the Harry Potter at Home initiative where some famous faces and friends of the world of Harry Potter will each read out a chapter from the book. Think Daniel Radcliffe (whose reading of the first chapter The Boy Who Lived, has already gone viral), David Beckham, Dakota Fanning and Stephen Fry to name a few. While these video recordings of the readings will be available on the website, the audio is being released as podcast episodes worldwide.

The project is an association between J.K. Rowling and Audible, Bloomsbury, libraries around the world, Pottermore Publishing and Scholastic. From discovering which house you belong to, to blog posts on the best ways to read the book, from Harry Potter word search game to Muggle assignments, the website is a treat for Potter lovers of all ages. One can even join their mailing list to find out, before the rest of the world, who is going to be reading the next Harry Potter chapter. The first episode is already up on the website as is the podcast by Radcliffe and this project is known to be continuing over the summer.