This time last year, I presented a paper at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland for a conference called, “A Brand of Fictional Magic: Reading Harry Potter as Literature.” It was a wonderful gathering of scholars from all over the world tasked to talk about one thing: Harry Potter. How cool, right? We were even featured in the news, huzzah! Here’s the BBC report, and here’s the one from the Telegraph. Anyway, the whole shebang was intellectually stimulating and I learned so much from my fellow presenters. There were many questions from the audience during my session and I think I was able to answer their questions convincingly, if not charmingly (ha, ha). I even participated in the culminating activity, a Round Table Q&A with Dr. James Thomas of Pepperdine University, Dr. Jessica Tiffin from University of Cape Town, and Mr. Hogwarts Professor himself, Mr. John Granger. I was just very honored to have been part of that activity and got to share my thoughts about everything Harry.
In all, Abbey, Giselle and I had a very pleasant time at St. Andrews. The university town is so old you could feel its proverbial bones straining against the cold, harsh wind and rain. Good thing we stayed at this fabulous B&B called Castlemount, and our hosts Jerry and Linda made sure every minute of our stay was just memorable.
So many things happened in Scotland; so many memories were made. I can’t even begin to put everything into words, a year after the fact. The conference was just the icing on the cake (even though, yes, it was supposed to be the highlight of my entire trip; it was a business trip after all, hey! Check my UK VISA papers!). I mean, sure, I’ve attended other HP conferences before. I’m an old hat when it comes to presenting papers. But last year was different. It was. . . .magical. And I am just grateful that I was able to go there and do so many wonderful things with two of my super friends. You should know they were not even supposed to attend the conference. But they did! They went and joined and participated (even paid the registration fee, natch!) and gave me moral support. How cool are they? Answer: VERY COOL. And now that I’ve had the time to think back and recall quite haphazardly (intentionally haphazardly; I don’t want to get lost in my memories) those days in St. Andrews, I can’t help but get teary-eyed all over again. I truly have the most wonderful friends in the universe.
Truly, you should be envious of me *wicked evil grin*