Multilingual reading marathon, panel discussion to celebrate 'Harry Potter' series Feb. 21-22


Witchcraft and wizardry will be happening on Central Michigan University's campus Feb. 21-22.

CMU faculty members Anne Hiebert Alton of the English Language and Literature department and Amy Ransom, chair of the World Languages and Cultures department will explain why the "Harry Potter" book series is popular around the world through a discussion panel. 

"A Wizard Abroad: The International Appeal of Harry Potter" panel will take place at 7 p.m. Feb. 21 in the Charles V. Park Library Auditorium. 

“Students will get the opportunity to understand how tangible Harry Potter is,” Hiebert said. “Harry Potter has relevance to people all over the world.” 

Hiebert believes this event will bring in literary scholars on campus that will contribute "great conversation."

A marathon reading of "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix" in 13 languages will take place from 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Feb. 22 in the Park Library Baber Room.

The marathon will begin in Italian and change readers and languages every 15 minutes.  There will be Spanish, Chinese, Polish, Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, French, French, German, American Sign Language, Italian, Romanian and English speakers.  

The readers will include faculty members, international students and CMU students. In total, 23 faculty members and students have signed up to read.

Bryan Whitledge, a Clarke Historical Library faculty member, orchestrated most of the event. 

Whitledge was inspired to hold the event after talking with a colleague last year. He looked online to see if anyone has done an event like this and found three similar instances with different novels. 

“I am most excited for the idea that the book is going to progress in different languages,” Whitledge said.