Magical chance to be the first to read the Half-Blood Prince

THE search is on to find the lucky Evening News reader who will spend a magical weekend in the world of Harry Potter.

Seventy children from around the world are being given the chance to meet author JK Rowling in the Capital. And they will be among the first people allowed to read the latest instalment in the child wizard’s adventures, Harry Potter and Half-Blood Prince.

The unique event has been organised to publicise the launch of the new book next month.

The Evening News is offering one youngster the chance to be there. To be in with a chance of winning they must prove their knowledge of all things Harry Potter by answering five questions which will appear in the paper over the coming week.

The competition winners will be whisked away to Edinburgh Castle, which is to be transformed into Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for a weekend.

On the stroke of midnight, as Friday, July 15, turns into Saturday, JK Rowling will appear, as if by magic, in the Great Hall of Edinburgh Castle to launch her new book. There waiting for her will be 70 children from around the world - including one lucky young Evening News reader.

She will then read from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and give each child a signed copy. On Saturday, youngsters get the chance to read the new book at the Castle before a banquet in the evening - while the grown-ups are entertained elsewhere.

And on Sunday, July 17, the children, aged between eight and 16, turn into cub reporters for a press conference with JK Rowling, when they will get the chance to put their own questions to the author, and then retire to a media room to file their report.

The penultimate book in the series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, sees the wizard in his sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

At the end of the previous book, Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge had confirmed evil wizard Lord Voldemort had returned and was alive and well.

In the midst of the battle of good and evil, Harry Potter and his friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, try to get through the school year as Voldemort's power increases.

It is said the latest adventure will "unlock the key to the whole series". and it will be almost impossible to ignore the launch of the latest instalment in the incredibly successful series.

More than 2000 buses across the UK and the Republic of Ireland are to be branded with the message "All Aboard For Harry" ahead of the July 16 publication.

And bookshops will be given 16-day countdown clocks modelled on the Weasleys’ clock from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, as well as posters featuring the slogan The Wizarding Hour Approaches - Set Your Alarm.

Many shops will hold midnight parties to mark publication.