Northern Illinois University

NIU Office of Public Affairs

News Release

Contact: Mark Pietrowski, NIU Liberal Arts and Sciences External Programming
(815) 753-1456

September 11, 2008

Young and old alike can experience
the magic of Harry Potter this fall at NIU

DeKalb, Ill. — Witches, Wizards, Squibs and Muggles—both young and old alike—are all invited to attend an upcoming Harry Potter conference at NIU.

The conference, titled “Searching for Platform 9 ¾: An Academic Harry Potter Conference,” will be held on campus from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 1. For the first time, the NIU event will feature separate programming for children and adults.

The conference is designed to showcase the educational value of the Harry Potter book series and demonstrate how it is a rich source for understanding culture, history and how the world works. The day's events will include lectures, panel discussions, a writing workshop and a keynote speaker.

Student programming is open to those in grades 4-12. (College students attending adult sessions will still be able to receive the student rate.) Registration is now open with an early bird discount before Oct. 15.

“We have been happy to offer unique Harry Potter educational experiences over the past few years and are thrilled for the first time to have programming for both adults and students,” said Kathy Wright, director of the NIU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences External Programming.

The keynote address will be delivered by Karley Adney, assistant professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Marathon County. Adney, an NIU alum, has led numerous summer camps focused on the Harry Potter book series and is working on a book about author J.K. Rowling.

As part of the conference package, attendees will gain entrance to the Halloween Costume Ball, which will be held from 7 to 11 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31, in the Altgeld Hall Auditorium.

Attendees are encouraged to dress for an elegant night out or in a costume, although those dressed casually are also welcome. There will be music, light refreshments and plenty of candy for those who still want to trick or treat.

Individuals not attending the conference are still welcome to attend the ball, although there will be an entrance fee of $10 for adults and $5 for students. The event is open to all ages. Attendees also are encouraged to bring the magic of reading to others by bringing along new and slightly used books to donate to Neighbors' House, a non-profit group dedicated to helping people reach their potential.

A silent auction will also be held the night of the ball with funds going toward NIU's academic summer camp scholarship fund.

Call (815) 753-1456 or e-mail Mark Pietrowski at for more information on the conference or to reserve tickets for the Halloween Ball. Registration is open online at under special events.

Those interested in presenting at the conference also can call or e-mail Pietrowski. Be prepared to send a brief bio and proposal abstract.

This program is not endorsed, sanctioned or any other way supported, directly or indirectly, by Warner Bros. Entertainment, the Harry Potter® book publishers, or J.K. Rowling and her representatives.

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