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Wednesday, 20 September, 2000, 13:33 GMT 14:33 UK
Narnia's magical revival
(L to R) Jonathan Scott, Sophie Wilcox, Richard Dempsey, Sophie Cook, in a 1988 BBC TV adaptation
Enduring appeal: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
Classic children's fantasy book The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is to be re-launched with a huge marketing campaign, capitalising on the massive interest generated by the Harry Potter craze.

The book, which was voted children's book of the century in a poll earlier this year, is the best known of CS Lewis's Narnia chronicles.

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
CS Lewis created the magical kingdom of Narnia in his first book for children
To celebrate the novel's 50th anniversary, the book's relaunch will be backed by what the publishers claim is one of the biggest marketing budgets the children's book world has ever seen.

There will be touring "Narnia parties", a national drama workshop tour, conferences and a revival of a successful Royal Shakespeare Company adaptation.

Fantasy writing

Collins Children's Books marketing manager Tina Miller said she was delighted at the promotional budget being allocated to the campaign.

"Fantasy and the magical is the lifeblood of the Narnia books. Harry Potter kick-started a new interest in fantasy writing," she told BBC News Online.

"After reading Harry Potter, children ask for more of the same. And so we're able to bring The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe to a new audience."

The witch, played by Barbara Kellerman, confronts the lion, in a 1988 BBC production of the book
The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe was dramatised by the BBC in 1988
Asked about a Harry Potter-style adult market, Miller explained that adults are already targeted with a one-volume compendium of the seven Narnia books, with a suitably "grown-up" cover.

Events

The worldwide promotion has sees a number of spin-offs based on the fantasy world Narnia, including a new website Narnia.com, and a range of soft toys.

Drama workshops will run around the UK throughout the Autumn at shops, libraries and schools, with actors from the London Drama Workshop Company introducing children to the Narnia characters.

The RSC's production of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which enjoyed spectacular success when originally staged in 1998, playing to over 250,000 theatregoers, will also start a two-month run at Sadler's Wells theatre, London, from 7 December.

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See also:

11 Mar 99 | Education
The books children are reading
23 Aug 00 | Entertainment
Shy Harry meets the press
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