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JK Rowling thanks fans on Harry Potter's 20th anniversary

Fans of JK Rowling's Harry Potter books queue outside the The National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh, Scotland on June 26, 2017, to view a rare first edition of the book 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone'. Photograph: (AFP)

AFP Edinburgh, United Kingdom Jun 26, 2017, 02.14 PM (IST)

Author JK Rowling on Monday marked the "wonderful" two decades since her Harry Potter creation first hit the shelves, starting a global literary phenomenon which has inspired a generation.

"20 years ago today a world that I had lived in alone was suddenly open to others. It's been wonderful. Thank you," she wrote on Twitter.

A pair of rounded glasses and a lightning bolt accompanied the social media site's special "HarryPotter20" hashtag, a nod to the boy who escaped from a cupboard under the stairs to become the world's most famous wizard.

Joanne Kathleen Rowling had struggled through poverty before winning a £1,500 publishing deal with Bloomsbury to print 1,000 copies of "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone".

The seven volumes of the saga have since been translated into 79 languages and have sold more than 450 million copies worldwide. 

"Harry Potter has had a huge impact on a generation of children who became so obsessed with reading that they would queue for hours to get their hands on the next book," said Diana Gerald, CEO of the Book Trust.

Events to mark the magical tale include a special exhibition at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh, the city where Rowling penned much of the first novel.

Visitors are being encouraged to don their wizard outfits as they view mementos including a "Philosopher's Stone" first edition filled with notes by Rowling.

Bloomsbury have published four anniversary editions of the first Potter book, in the house colours of Hogwarts wizarding school, while quizzes and crafts were the order of the day at libraries and schools around Britain.

London's St. Paul's Cathedral on Monday published a video of music from the Harry Potter film series being performed at the famous site.

Pottermania over the past two decades has led to eight movies, a hit play, and numerous spin-off books being published.

In October a "Harry Potter: A History of Magic" exhibition will open at the British Library in London, showcasing manuscripts and magical objects alongside Rowling's archives.

The Harry Potter empire has earned Rowling -- a committed philanthropist -- an estimated fortune of £650 million ($825 million, 743 million euros), according to The Sunday Times newspaper's 2017 Rich List.

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