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Sources: Phil Nel, 785-532-2165,;
and Karin Westman, 785-532-2190,
Web site:
Photo available. Contact or 785-532-6415
News release prepared by: Katie Mayes, 785-532-6415,

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


MANHATTAN -- Phil Nel, a Kansas State University professor of English and expert on the Harry Potter book series, will talk about the complex relationship between the books and movies just a few days before the latest installment, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," hits the movie screen.

Nel's lecture will be at 3 p.m. Sunday, July 12, at the Manhattan Public Library, 629 Poyntz Ave. Sponsored by K-State's department of English and the Manhattan Public Library, the talk is free and open to the public.

Nel will analyze the past five films based on the popular J.K. Rowling book series and lead a discussion of what is expected in the upcoming film, set to open in theaters Wednesday, July 15.

"When they watch a movie, many people ask only one question: 'Was it faithful to the book?' However, what they should ask is, 'What would it mean for a film to be faithful to a book?'" Nel said. "These movies have nearly the same cast, but four different directors -- they provide a perfect opportunity to think about how a director interprets a story and remind us that all adaptation is a kind of translation. Something of the original is lost, but if it's done well, something else can be gained."

The talk will be illustrated with still images from the first five films and will include plenty of time for discussion of Potter films, past, present and future.

Karin Westman, head of K-State's department of English, said that the Harry Potter films contribute to the popularity of Rowling's literary series.

"Interest in Harry Potter hasn't diminished with the publication of the final installment in the series," she said. "K-State's Harry Potter class continues to attract students from across the university and they often enroll because they have enjoyed the films and then want to learn about the books."

About the upcoming film, Westman said she's hopeful that a new dimension of the books will be represented.

"The trailers suggest that the sixth film will allow us to appreciate Rowling's sense of humor, a quality of the books which hasn't always found its way onto the screen," she said.