Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.London: Bloomsbury, 2000 Stock Code: 128864
Who helped Harry out of his cupboardFirst edition, first impression, dedication copy, inscribed by the author on the dedication page with an arrow from the printed dedication ("to Susan Sladden who helped Harry out of his cupboard"): "and, though we didn't want it in print, helped me out of my cupboard. With unending gratitude and equal love Jo a.k.a. (again) JK Rowling x". The printed dedication reads: "To Peter Rowling, in memory of Mr. Ridley and to Susan Sladden, who helped Harry out of his cupboard."
Susan Sladden was a close friend of Rowling's in Edinburgh who enabled her to finish the Philosopher's Stone by babysitting her daughter Jessica. After her divorce, Rowling had returned to the UK with her daughter and three chapters of Harry Potter, and decided to give her writing one serious try, thinking she might never again have the opportunity. She moved to Edinburgh to be near her sister and attended a local Church of Scotland congregation, where she met Susan Sladden. An elderly woman who had never married, "we were not 'dead certs' for friendship" Rowling recalled, but Sladden became an invaluable friend to her. Rowling was new to the city, and had no friends and no-one to look after her daughter: her sister worked full-time, her mother had died several years previously, and she was ineligible for state-funded childcare. "The elderly woman would take care of Jessica for an afternoon and encourage Rowling to get out a little, kick up her heels, see an art show, do some window shopping. Instead, Rowling would find an empty table at a coffee shop and work on Harry Potter" (Charmed, I'm Sure).
The other dedication copy, inscribed by Rowling to her father for Father's Day and referencing the second name in the printed dedication ("Dear Dad, If I had said Ronald (Weasley) Ridley, they would have tracked the poor bloke down... but that's why Ron's called Ron, of course!"), came up for sale at Christie's New York in 2003 and made 48,000.
PROVENANCE: from Susan Sladden to her neighbours who helped care for her. In a nice piece of synchronicity, it is interesting to note that Sladden's house number was 4.
Octavo. Original pictorial boards, titles to spine and front board in blue and black. With the dust jacket. Housed in a purple quarter morocco solander box by the Chelsea Bindery.
A fine copy.
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