Nepali Version of Harry Potter

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Recently, I knew that there is Nepali version of Harry Potter also. About this an online news portal,, writes, “There are seven million children in Nepal. If their families don't read, they don't develop reading habits either. School libraries are more showpieces than providing youngsters with books they really enjoy reading. The urban families give priority to English and English books but to the rural families, they are unaffordable. Also, a rural reader does not have sufficient English skills and English story books do not culturally resonate with them, who come from a very different background."

A concerned Unicef was looking for organisations that would take a social marketing approach and produce books in Nepali and market them without looking for profit.
Sherpa, a New Zealander married to a Nepali, came together with four more women - Lucia de Vries, a Dutch journalist, Bhubaneswari Sachal, who was working on women and children's welfare issues and ran a magazine, `Chichila' for schools, Shanta Shrestha, whose forte was development issues in Nepal's southern Terai plains, and Yashoda Shrestha, who works for DANIDA, the Danish government's international development agency.

Together they founded Sunbird to bring out books in Nepali for children and teenagers and take them to the target reader in the villages.

After the Maoist war ended in 2006, Sunbird was looking for something new. At that time, Harry Potter was the new rage with youngsters and the group's attention was drawn to a wistful letter sent to a newspaper by a teenager from a district outside the capital.

He wished that there were Harry Potter books in Nepali so that he could read them and the group realised that here was the perfect book to get Nepali teenagers to read.

"The Potter books look at growing up, the ups and downs of life and the pain of being different," Sherpa says. "We thought a Potter book in Nepali would encourage young people to read and Nepali writers to write for teenagers."

It was Lucia de Vries who thought of writing to J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, to ask for permission to publish the first Harry Potter book - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - in Nepali. To the group's amazement and joy, though the response took time, it was positive and in February 2008, Rowling and Sunbird signed an agreement to publish the Nepali edition for a `nominal' royalty.

The Nepali Potter, priced at a modest NRS 180 (about Rs.113), was launched last week. The publishers are now trying to talk with Nepal's large department stores to market the book.”

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