The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Accio J.K. Rowling!

In an effort to woo Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling to speak in Iowa City, the University of Iowa Lecture Committee launched a letter-writing campaign on Feb. 24 inviting students, faculty, and the larger Iowa City community to write to Rowling, telling her how she has inspired them and why she should visit campus.

The campaign officially ends Friday; however, the committee has said it will continue accepting letters through spring break. Dozens of correspondences have been submitted so far, and local programs, including Longfellow Elementary, have held their own mini campaigns. The committee encourages anyone and everyone to reply to the open call.

Those interested may write a letter telling Rowling how much her novels mean to them and pleading with her to come to Iowa City next spring and take it to 145 IMU or email it to [email protected]. Or, take a copy of the following letter, sign your name next to mine and submit it.

Rowling coming to campus may be a bit of a long shot, but then again, so was surviving a death curse from the most powerful evil wizard of all time …

Dear Ms. Rowling,

We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at the University of Iowa. Please find enclosed a list of all necessary reasons and persuasive points.

Term begins on 19 Jan., 2016. We await your owl by no later than spring 2016.

We all know the story that began with “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive,” a couple “proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much” and ended when “all was well.” Like countless people around the world, we know every trial of Harry Potter. 

We cheered him on against Quirrell, fought the basilisk by his side, willed him our strength for a Patronus, kept our (Mad)Eye on him during the tournament, followed him in Dumbledore’s Army, wept with him for Sirius and again for Dumbledore, and left everything behind to fight the good fight with him in the woods. We fell in love as Ron and Hermione fell in love. When he died, we died.

When he was victorious, we were victorious. 

Through your stories, we learned love, loss, good, evil, devotion, forgiveness, happiness, despair, and much more than we will ever be able to say. With your words, you touched our souls — in a totally non-creepy, non-Horcrux way. These seven books shaped our lives.

For many of us here in Iowa City, they also shaped our futures. Known as the writing university, the UI attracts thousands of young writers. Iowa City is set apart by how seriously we take our literature; we’re practically a college of Hermiones. We’d fight the Triwizard Tournament with a quill pen, not a sword. But fear not, Ms. Rowling, we are no Rita Skeeters. 

We are a place continually looking to better our reading and writing, striving to have an effect on the world through our artistic endeavors. By the time you visit (allow me to be optimistic and assume your well-organized mind has already said yes to this next great adventure — not death, just this journey to Iowa), our world-renowned Iowa Writers’ Workshop will celebrate its 80th year. What better way to celebrate than with a visit from one of the greatest novelists of the last 80 years? 

Your visit would be the cherry on top of a long and impressive history of literary devotion. Iowa City reads and writes for the joy of it, something I’m sure you understand. We are, quite simply, a city in love with literature. In fact, we bear the distinction of being a UNESCO City of Literature — an honor we share with the lovely Edinburgh. 

We may not have the sprawling stone castles of your home, our fellow City of Literature, but Iowa City is a gorgeous place filled with remarkably intelligent, kind people. 

I’m going to be selfish for a moment and speak for myself rather than the city: Your presence on campus, Ms. Rowling, and the chance to hear you speak, to see you in person, would be the greatest moment of my young life. It would be the validation that there is a point to studying literature, that one great story can change the world. It would show everyone that studying the craft of writing, which fellow UI students and I do every day, is a noble chase that even the great J.K. Rowling appreciates and honors. 

More than just being a fan of Harry Potter, I am a fan of you; of the ache you must have felt in your fingers from writing and typing for so long, of the hours of research that went into making small details line up, of the painstaking revisions, of rewording sentences until everything sounded just so, of the devotion that went into shaping these imagined characters into full, real people. 

At this point in your life, the chance to speak to a crowd of fans is not rare. The opportunity to address a crowd of writers and aspiring authors, likely, is not much less common. But that is what we have to offer you. You have given us countless, endless hours of enjoyment, yet all we can offer is our undivided attention, devotion, and adoration should you deem us worthy of your presence. 

There’s nothing left to say, save to ask, knowing we solemnly swear we are up to no good, has our mischief been managed?

Yours truly,