“Reading Writing Rowling” Episode 6: “2017 Chestnut Hill Harry Potter Conference”

Where can Harry Potter scholars and fans meet and share ideas, and where can fans be scholars and scholars be fans? All that can and does happen at the Harry Potter Conference at Chestnut Hill College in Pennsylvania.

“Reading Writing Rowling” Episode 6: “2017 Chestnut Hill Harry Potter Conference”



At the sixth annual Harry Potter Conference at Chestnut Hill College, podcast cohosts Katy McDaniel and John Granger met up with a variety of Harry Potter scholars and encountered many exciting new ideas about the series.

In this episode, they talk with conference organizers and Chestnut Hill College faculty Patrick McCauley (Associate Professor of Religious Studies and author of Into the Pensieve) and Karen Wendling (Associate Professor of Chemistry) along with fellow presenters and attendees Louise Freeman (Professor of Psychology at Mary Baldwin University) and Emily Strand (Instructor of Comparative Religions at Mount Carmel College of Nursing).

This episode discusses J.K. Rowling’s writing style, intersections between Harry Potter and Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series, the influence of Vladimir Nabokov on Rowling as a writer of parody, Terror Management Theory in “The Tale of the Three Brothers,” and how psychologists and biologists are using Harry Potter names to describe psychological syndromes and new species.

More substantially, the conversation focuses on the importance of recognizing the Harry Potter series as literature for adults, the power of books that are loved, and the importance of conferences like this one for promoting thoughtful conversations about the transformative power of literature.

Please join the conversation via email (ReadingWritingRowling@gmail.com) or Twitter (@ReadWriteRowl). We’d love to hear from you!

Amy Hogan

I was 9 years old when I discovered the magic that is “Harry Potter.” I am a proud Hufflepuff and exceedingly good at eating, reading, being sarcastic, and over-thinking small tasks. Since I spent too much time worrying about the correct way to write this bio, this is all I was able to come up with before the deadline.