At Long Last, Lowland Scots Get the Harry Potter They Damn Well Deserve
Electric Lit relies on contributions from our readers to help make literature more exciting, relevant, and inclusive. Please support our work by becoming a member today, or making a one-time donation here.
Plus, Phillip Pullman to name a character after a victim of the Grenfell Tower Fire, while copy editors at the NYT stage a walkout
Yes, it’s the Friday before a long, long weekend, but the literary world never quite seems to slow down, does it? In today’s news: 20 years after its publication, the first Harry Potter book is being translated to Scots, Philip Pullman will name a character in his new book after a victim of the Grenfell Tower Fire, and a safety net against grammatical errors and fake news is eliminated at the NY Times, and the editors are not taking it sitting down.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to be translated to Scots
Harry Potter may have been inspired by the quaint streets of Edinburgh and the Scottish countryside, but for twenty years and after dozens of translations worldwide, the books have never before appeared in the ‘local’ language. That’s about to change. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the book that started it all, is finally being translated to Scots. Scottish imprint Itchy Coo, part of Black & White publishing, will be releasing the book in October. Matthew Fitt, an esteemed expert who has brought other children’s classics to the language, including Roald Dahl’s The Eejits and Chairlie and the Chocolate Works, will serve as translator. The forthcoming edition will be the book’s 80th translation. Author J.K. Rowling has many times voiced her love of Scotland, calling it one of the most “hauntingly beautiful places in the world.” Plus, the Edinburgh café where she wrote much of the book, The Elephant Room, has now become a popular tourist attraction for Potterheads visiting the charming city. The first paragraph reads:
“Mr and Mrs Dursley, o nummer fower, Privet Loan, were prood tae say that they were gey normal, thank ye awfie muckle. They were the lest fowk ye wid jalouse wid be taigled up wi onythin unco or ferlie, because they jist widnae hae onythin tae dae wi joukery packery like yon.”
It sort of heights the magic, doesn’t it? For Scots, anyway.
[The Guardian/Danuta Kean]
Philip Pullman to name a character after a Grenfell Tower Fire victim
In light of the recent Grenfell Tower fire, authors including Margaret Atwood, Jacqueline Wilson, and Philip Pullman are participating a fundraising auction to support those affected by the tragedy, which left 79 people dead and hundreds homeless. Pullman alone has now raised £32,400 after offering to name a character in the second book of his new series, The Book of Dust, after a name provided by the winner of the auction. James Clements, the former teacher of a 15-year old girl who passed away in the fire, offered up the student’s name: Nur Huda el-Wahabi. Pullman, a former teacher, stated: “I wish I’d met Nur Huda, and I’m desperately sorry she died. I hope the character I give her name to will be someone she’d have liked to know.” The large sum was raised through hundreds of micro-bids of £10–20 that kept adding up, with all of it going to the British Red Cross London Fire Relief Fund. Even though the auction closed on Tuesday evening, donations are still rolling in to support the cause.
[The Guardian/Danuta Kean]
Elimination of a NY Times copy editing desk causes walkouts and protests among staffers
Copy editing has roused a lot of emotions over at the New York Times, with hundreds of employees outraged over the elimination of a standalone copy desk consisting of about 100 editors. The action culminated Thursday afternoon with a walkout protesting the cut in staff size. Participants carried a number of signs including, “They say cut back, we say fight back,” ““Without us, it’s the New Yrok Times,” and “This sign wsa not edited.” The staff cuts at the Times are part of an effort to streamline the editing process. However, staffers reaffirmed the importance of the copy editing desk and it’s “safety net” function in catching both grammatical and factual errors. The walkout garnered a lot of attention on social media, with reporters tweeting in support of it and recalling instances when copy editors came to their rescue.
[The Washington Post/Samantha Schmidt]