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Sugar Quill in the News!


* A Gift of Magic by Jamie Smith Hopkins, Baltimore Sun, July 15, 2007

"Millions of books and ten years later, the great Harry Potter book rush is approaching a climactic end. The series had an elemental appeal likely to echo for many years." Wicked article that features interviews with Zsenya, Hallie, and other Sugar Quill members!

* Bordering on Obsession by Ron Cassie, Frederick News-Post, July 13, 2007

She (Zsenya) admitted she’s looking forward to the final book for closure — and partly relief.

“This has taken up a lot of my energy for the last seven years,” Levine, 35, said. “But mostly I need to know.”

Need to know what?

“If Harry is going to live or die,” she said.

* Are Potter Movies Great Cinema? by Tamara Ikenberg, Louisville, Kentucky, Courier-Journal, July 7, 2007

Fans comment on the Harry Potter movies.

* Harry Endings, by Carin Yavorcik, Columbus Dispatch, June 5, 2007

Highlights several pieces of fan fiction, including After the End by Arabella and Zsenya!

* Filling in the Gap, by Claudia Perry, Star-Ledger, May 10, 2007

...Fans write their own fiction based on the Potter universe.

* Potter Sites Wild About Harry, by Hillel Italie (Associated Press), Toronto Star, April 11, 2007

A feature on Harry Potter fansites.

* What Happens to Harry? Book by Harry Potter Fanatics Provides Answers... Maybe, by Karen Lindell,, March 26, 2007

A review of What Will Happen in Harry Potter 7? by

* Henry Jenkins. Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide (New York University Press, 2006)

In Chapter Five, "Why Heather Can Write: Media Literacy and the Harry Potter Wars," there is a section called "Rewriting School" which talks very favorably about Harry Potter fan fiction in general and the Sugar Quill specifically. It's a fascinating chapter and talks about how the Harry Potter fandom has an educational component and how it crosses generations.

We are grateful to Henry Jenkins for taking the time to talk to Sugar Quill members, look through our website, and describe so accurately what we hope to achieve by this website.

*There's always 'Potter' fanfic, by the Associated Press, Dayton Daily News, November 19, 2005.

Some websites, like, are exclusively for Potter fanfics, and draw contributions from amateur writers as far afield as Australia, Iceland, the Philippines and India.

"For most people, I think, it's just about the excitement of writing something, having it read and getting the feedback from the online reviewers."

*Harry Potter, by Giles Hewitt, Agence France, August 30, 2005.

Some websites, like, are exclusively for Potter fanfics, and draw contributions from amateur writers as far afield as Australia, Iceland, the Philippines and India.

"For most people, I think, it's just about the excitement of writing something, having it read and getting the feedback from the online reviewers."

*The Magic of 'Potter' Not Just for Kids, by Philip Rucker, The Washington Post, July 21, 2005.

The Sugar Quill has swelled into one of the more popular Potter sites, with more than 5,000 registered members. On Sunday, the day after the sixth book, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," was released, traffic on the site peaked with about 350 users logged on at once. .

* 'Harry Potter' and the wall of secrecy have fans buzzing, by Ryan E. Smith, The Toledo Blade, July 15, 2005.

Things aren't looking good for the head of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. See, speculation among some die-hard fans is that he will be the one to die in the sixth book in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, to be released at midnight. .

* Graphomania Gone Virtual, by Ali Gowans, Daily Iowan, July 15, 2005.

Exactly as they sound, fanfictions, often called "fics," are stories written by fans using the characters and plots from established stories. Anything can be the basis of a fanfiction - Harry Potter fics are some of the most popular, but a visit to one of the largest online databases for the medium,, brings up stories on everything from Blues Clues to X-Men to the works of Charles Dickens.

(Note from Zsenya: contrary to what it says in the article, we don't run advertisements on our site)

* Muggles Alert! A Conversation with ... Harry Potter Expert Jennie Levine, by Dave Ottalini, UM Newsdesk, July 6, 2005.

Muggles Alert! Book six of the Harry Potter series is set for release on Saturday, July 16. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is already creating a buzz. 10.8 million copies will be available in the U.S. alone.

But what is it that makes the Harry Potter series so enduring, and special to readers of all ages? To find out, we went to the University of Maryland's very own Harry Potter expert - Jennie Levine - she's the co-creator of one of the most popular Harry Potter fan sites on the web,

Recently, Newsdesk talked with Jennie about the Half-Blood Prince and where the Harry Potter series is going in the future.

* Rowling backs Potter fan fiction, by Darren Waters, BBC, May 27, 2004.

Harry Potter author JK Rowling has given her blessing to fans who write their own Potter stories online.

A spokesman for Rowling's literary agent said she was "flattered people wanted to write their own stories" based on her characters.

Websites such as and carry thousands of stories inspired by Rowling's global best-sellers.

* Why Heather Can Write, by Henry Jenkins, Technology Review, February 6, 2004.

Not everything kids learn from popular culture is bad for them: Some of the best writing instruction takes place outside the classroom in online communities.

At the Sugar Quill, another popular site, every posted story undergoes a peer-review process it calls "beta-reading." New writers often go through multiple drafts before their stories are ready for posting. "The beta-reader service has really helped me to get the adverbs out of my writing and get my prepositions in the right place and improve my sentence structure and refine the overall quality of my writing," explains the girl who writes under the pen name Sweeney Agonistes—a college freshman with years of publishing behind her.

* The Web of Magic, by Makeba Scott Hunter, Baltimore Sun, July 30, 2003.

When two grown-up fans of the Harry Potter series put their heads together, they create a little magic of their own:

Maureen Lipsett, a 32-year-old middle-school teacher from Wilmington, Del., said stumbling upon the Sugar Quill site was a revelation. "There were people out there who saw the books the way I did," she says. "It's intelligent, thoughtful discussion without any bastardizing of the brilliant story written by J.K. Rowling.

"I believe my first words were, 'I've finally come home,' " she recalls.

* Harry Potter Fan Fiction, Voice of America, interview by Nancy Beardsley, June 23, 2003.

INTRO: The rush to buy "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," includes millions of readers looking for entertainment, and some looking for inspiration as well. They write what's known as fan fiction, stories that draw on characters and adventures from previously published books, films and television shows. VOA's Nancy Beardsley has more on how aspiring authors are spinning their own tales about Harry Potter and the Hogwarts School for Wizards:

Zsenya: It gives you sort of a back story to work with, so if you've never tried to write before, you don't have to think up all the characters or you don't have to think up the whole setting. You either fill in the blanks or write from another person's point of view or develop it a little bit further. And then the hope is eventually they'll branch off from fan fiction and write their own original fiction.

* German television, June 21, 2003.

Christina Teresa (whose stories are archived at the Sugar Quill) discusses why we write fanfiction!

* Potter world lives online, BBCNews, June 20, 2003.

* Harry Potter and the Copyright Lawyer: Use of Popular Characters Put 'Fan Fiction' Writers in Gray Area, by Ariana Eunjung Cha, The Washington Post, June 17, 2003.

"If you start writing fiction you have to invent everything -- the universe, the characters, the setting. With fan fiction it's all there for you. . . . We see the ultimate goal for everyone is to be able to write their own original fiction, but this is sort of a way for people to get started and build up their confidence."

* Unfogging the Future: What to Look for in the Next Harry Potter, by Anna Weinberg, Book Magazine, May/June 2003.

(In a sidebar entitled, "Experts Speak Out")

Zsenya, AGE 30, headmistress of the Sugar Quill and archivist in Baltimore, Maryland
I am scared to death that a Weasley will die, and of them all, I'm most scared for Percy Weasley, who has shown signs of splitting from his family in favor of the Ministry of Magic. We'll find out something cool about Ginny Weasley. I'm convinced she's meant for Harry, but I don't know how much time Harry is going to have for romance in the next few books. He's going to be too busy fighting evil.

* Harry Potter Fan Fiction, interview by Margot Adler, All Things Considered (National Public Radio), December 29, 2002.

(Interview conducted by Margot Adler on December 18, 2002 with Zsenya, Arabella, Moey, Elanor Gamgee, and B Bennett, with special help from VoxM)

NPR's Margot Adler discovers an entire world of writers devoted to developing their own Harry Potter stories while they wait impatiently for the fifth book in the series.

* Fan Fiction, by Michelle Pauli, The Guardian, December 4, 2002.
Michelle Pauli has some advice for fans desperate for new adventures from the wizards at Hogwarts or cult series such as the X-Files

Other stylish HP fanfic sites are, run by a group of young, professional, Harry Potter obsessives who beta-read all stories submitted to them for quality, and, which specialises in stories that explore the Harry/Ginny Weasley romance hinted at by Rowling


According to Zsenya and Arabella of, fan fiction is ideal for inexperienced writers to hone their skills as it provides a ready-made world and characters.


* Writers create their own sequels, by Lesly Mayhue, The Toronto Star, March 5, 2002.

This article is not available for free online at this time.

Some fanfic sites are pickier about the material they post than others. For those who want to honour their heroes with style, there are numerous pages devoted to teaching the art of fanfic writing, such as Writers University ( Sugar Quill ( offers a free reading service, which acts as an editor for Harry Potter fans (incidentally, I have a piece posted there).

"The bulk of the stories (on the Web) were difficult to enjoy, often because of the spelling and punctuation errors of many young writers," says Sugar Quill Web mistress Zsenya. "We therefore opted to start our own archive of what we considered to be the best HP (Harry Potter) fan fiction. At the same time, being amateur writers ourselves, we decided to offer assistance to other writers. Many of the HP stories are written by young teens, whose plots are promising, even if their grammar isn't."


"Fan fiction, though it is in no way the 'real deal' provides a little bit of relief during a long wait (for another instalment). People feel closer to the beloved stories, when they are able to participate in a fandom." says Zsenya.

* Just like magic: Harry Potter inspires legions of fans to create websites, by Meryl Kaplan Evans, The Dallas Morning News, November 8, 2001.

Harry Potter drew a deep breath and gatherered the last reserves of his happiness. He concentrated on the moment last winter when he and Hermione had found Ron, still aliv. He was almost there. Expecto Patronum!

No, the passage and famed Latin incantation meaning "I expect a patron" are not from the much-anticipated fifth installment of the Harry Potter book series.

Rather, they're from Zsenya and Arabella, the pen names of two Harry Potter fans who wrote the Potteresque story After the End and posted it on the Web.

A disclaimer accompanying their story – and many others – states that J.K Rowling is the creative genius behind Harry Potter, who also owns the characters and settings.

The fan-authored stories are from Sugar Quill (, a fan fiction website created by Arabella and Zsenya.


"Technically, all fan fiction conflicts with the original source simply because it isn't written by the original author," Ms. Morrison said. Despite that, fan stories attempt to stay true to the original creator's works.

Sugar Quill posts more than 1,000 stories by 100-plus authors. Also on the site are discussion boards for the books, as well as community forums where fans can discuss non-Harry Potter topics.

And in an effort to promote literacy, Sugar Quill sells T-shirts, magnets, and iron-on transfers. All proceeds go to First Book, an organization that gives children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own books.



The Sugar Quill was created by Zsenya and Arabella. For questions, please send us an Owl!

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