Liz Calder and the Harry Potter / Translated by Mara

Writing stories is more than great. But there are ready-made, as they say, true – stories. They are astonishing, thought-provoking, exciting, instructive, beautiful. They are short. They are one-time-only. I wish you the best, and also for those who take part in these stories. Hi: Cen‘


that in the Foggy Albion in the early 1970s lived a lovely girl, a certain Liz Calder, who was greatly offended by a friend much later. At that time, a serious and grim-eyed young Indian man was also trying his luck in London. Salman thought he was going to be a writer. Famous? Not famous? Never mind. Writer. His father was already going crazy when his son was studying literature, and he asked, “Literature? And what should I tell my friends, yet what do you do? ” Still, Salman, the boy, studied literature and then, for lack of a better job, took a position at an advertising agency. You wouldn’t even believe how many writers are starting their groaning, fundamentally hopeless careers in a rhyme factory like this. Like our Salman. Salman wasn’t that volcano-type with a ten-point short story popping out of his head every hour, so he produced the slogans.

 He was who invented „Naughty, but Nice!”

salman rushdie harry potter

Salman Rushdie (Photo)

– and he was proud of that later. He also got a wife, Clarissa, but they didn’t earn enough even together, so they got a tenant, Liz, who was mentioned first. The apartment was tiny, Liz, who worked for an advertising agency too, slept in the room where Salman wrote during the day. For three and a half years. During this time, Salman also wrote better lines than „Naughty, but Nice!”. The first novel was put together. Since Liz had been seeing Salman’s manuscript every day for 3 and a half years, and occasionally looked into it, she knew what was going on. Just as Salman was at the end of the job, Liz was appointed editor. No wonder. She was a cool girl. He was keen on Brazil, for example, and when the first prize at a costume ball was a ticket to Brazil, she rolled mother-naked in a cart in front of the jury. He could fly to Brazil. She was smart, they say, also beautiful. Informed but not conceited. Modest but conscious. Vigilant but benevolent. A bad word wasn’t heard about her. No wonder. As soon as she became an editor,

she published Salman’s novel, so Salman skipped the years that most writers bitterly mention, when their manuscript is thrown back from everywhere. Sometimes even the best ones. So Liz’s first book and Salman’s first book became the same. It was the Midnight’s Children.

He immediately received the Booker Prize, and Salman became famous in one fell swoop. From then on, the road led upward, and Liz was his editor all along. Everything went well, until Salman wrote the book The Satanic Verses. No one thought it could be a problem. However, Liz had just started a new label, and since she helped him all along, she thought Salman was following her to the new company. But by then, Salman’s price had gone up, and if  Liz’s company paid as much as the other publishers, they could go bankrupt right at the beginning. For this – though with a heavy heart –  Salman changed editor. Liz may have never received such a slap in the face. In the weeks of pain, it didn’t cross her mind that The Satanic Verses would be banned in many countries, and Salman would be persecuted. It was only later that she understood, it was Salman’s book that would have ruined the new publisher.

And then the day would never have come when Liz runs into the manuscript of a mother coming from Portugal, fleeing her violent husband, living on aid. The manuscript of the Harry Potter.

(Based on Salman Rushdie’s autobiography)

Liz Calder Harry Potter
In the photo: Liz Calder

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