HARRY Potter has a fan who, like the teenage wizard, has done wonders for encouraging children to read - the Duchess of Cornwall.
Camilla, who supports a number of literacy initiatives and organisations in the UK, described Edinburgh-based author JK Rowling as “brilliant” as she recognised the achievements of young Sri Lankan writers.
The Duchess visited a public library in the capital, Colombo, to praise schoolchildren from all backgrounds in an annual writing competition.
She also presented a prize to Shenuka Corea, the overall winner of the 2012 Commonwealth Essay Competition, which has been run by the Royal Commonwealth Society since 1883.
It is the world’s oldest and largest essay competition and is open to all Commonwealth citizens aged 18 or under, offering young people the opportunity to make their voice heard on a global platform.
Camilla arrived to a traditional local welcome featuring dancers and drummers before chatting with several of the talented youngsters.
Krishnavi Rathnaranjan, 14, who wrote an award-winning essay on Why Reading Makes You Perfect, told the Duchess that JK Rowling was her favourite author.
Camilla replied: “Oh, I love Harry Potter. Have you read all the books and seen the films? I was very sad when it finished. She is a brilliant writer.”
The Duchess was also asked to light a ceremonial candle before the official prize-giving ceremony.
Referring to the Prince of Wales, who almost set his jacket alight yesterday when he brushed past an oil burner, she said: “I hope I don’t set this alight. We’ve already had enough trouble.”
As she left, Camilla thanked everyone and promised to return, saying: “I hope I will be back before too long.”
The Duchess is keen to promote the benefits of reading and is patron of the National Literacy Trust, BookTrust and First Story, UK charities which help to promote literacy in young people.
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