How Pottermore concocted Pottermore Presents

18th August 2016

Yesterday we revealed that we had lovingly put together a series of eBook shorts called Pottermore Presents. We spoke to Anna Rafferty, director of product, creative and content at Pottermore, to tell us all about how the collections were curated.

From 6 September, you will be able to buy three eBook shorts celebrating the corners and crevices of a certain wizarding school: Hogwarts: An Incomplete and Unreliable Guide, Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists, and Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies.

Each eBook is a curated, themed anthology of previously-published writing from the Pottermore archives. On top of that, two of the eBooks include new pieces from J.K. Rowling herself, previously written for Pottermore, but not yet published. But how did Pottermore Presents come together? And why were certain topics and pieces picked?

‘It’s been a wonderful curation exercise,’ Anna told us. ‘We read through everything in our archives, took pieces written by J.K. Rowling and the Pottermore editorial team, and sewed it all together – from the delicious little snippets of wizarding world lore, to the longer narratives on characters and magical phenomena, and categories of themed miscellany started to emerge in our thinking.’

Each eBook explores a different concept. For example, Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists delves into the darker elements of the wizarding world; the troubles of the Ministry and the terrors of Azkaban prison.

As Anna explains to us, the complexity and variety of the Pottermore entries mean that the eBooks had to follow suit. ‘The collections are very deliberately not segmented into binary poles of ‘goodies and baddies’ – the wizarding world, and the characters within it, are more nuanced than that,’ Anna explained.

‘We preferred to explore shades of grey and collected the writing around politics and power, or everyday heroism. So much of the joy of working with J.K. Rowling’s wizarding world is in its richness – heroic characters have secret weaknesses, power seduces even the kindest of souls and some magical hardships, like lycanthropy, seem almost impossible to bear.’

And while the eBooks mostly present the amazing work J.K. Rowling has built on Pottermore over the years, there are also a few never-seen-before pieces of writing too, such as some extra details into the character of Minerva McGonagall. Here’s a sneaky glimpse into McGonagall’s section, complete with a chapter illustration page designed by MinaLima.

An excerpt from Pottermore Presents: Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies
An excerpt from Pottermore Presents: Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies

‘We wanted to take jewels of writing that already exist on Pottermore and some that were still unpublished in the archives, surface and connect them in a way that’s easy for the reader to enjoy – and read offline, if they want! – and make the writing available in new places,’ Anna explained. ‘I think these collections do that beautifully.’

We most certainly hope that you agree.

Both Short Stories from Hogwarts of Power, Politics and Pesky Poltergeists, and Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies contain previously unpublished writing by J.K. Rowling, from the Pottermore archives. You can purchase the series from the Pottermore Shop.

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