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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 May, 2005, 14:06 GMT 15:06 UK
Castle launch for new Potter book
JK Rowling signing a book for a young fan
JK Rowling will launch her sixth Potter book this summer
Harry Potter author JK Rowling is offering children from all over the world the chance to attend the launch of her new book.

The sixth instalment in the series about the boy wizard will be unveiled at Edinburgh Castle on 16 July.

At one minute past the witching hour Rowling will read from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

A variety of media competitions will give 70 children the chance to become a member of the audience.

The lucky children will travel up the Scottish capital's historic Royal Mile in horse-drawn carriages to the Castle Esplanade for the event, which will be broadcast live worldwide on TV and radio.

Cub reporters

The youngsters, who must be aged from eight to 16, will return to the oak-beamed Great Hall of the castle later on the Saturday for a Hogwarts-style banquet.

On the Sunday, the winners will then have the opportunity to be cub reporters and question Rowling, in what the author has promised will be the book's only news conference.

Each youngster will take home a copy of the penultimate book in the series of seven, personally signed by the author.

Edinburgh Castle
Edinburgh Castle will host the launch of the next Potter book

JK Rowling has been careful not to give away any details of the latest instalment in the adventures of Harry, Hermione and Ron.

But writing on her website recently, she said: "I like Half-Blood Prince better than I liked Goblet of Fire, Order of the Phoenix or Chamber of Secrets when I finished them.

"Book six does what I wanted it to do and even if nobody else likes it (and some won't), I know it will remain one of my favourites."

Some 250 million Harry Potter books have been sold around the world, with 13.5 million copies sold in the UK.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix became one of the fastest-selling books in publishing history in 2003.

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