Twenty years after Harry first ventured into the world with the initial publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, we’re still wondering what the phenomenon has really meant for kids books and the publishing world at large, and where we would be without it. “Harry Potter” sparked a furor that seemed totally unprecedented in the world of children’s literature. The books themselves, though ― not much about them was totally unprecedented.
Malik is not the first person to defend cultural appropriation. He joins a long list that, most recently, has included prominent members of the Canadian literary community and author Lionel Shriver.
But the truth is that cultural appropriation is indefensible. Those who defend it either don’t understand what it is, misrepresent it to muddy the conversation, or ignore its complexity — discarding any nuances and making it easy to dismiss both appropriation and those who object to it.
Revolution and rebellion are a reliable fixture at the UK’s biggest history festival, but this year there is also some fierce contemporary dissent. The historian Rebecca Rideal has pulled out of the Chalke Valley history festival in protest at the event’s lack of diversity.
The 148 speakers due to appear this year include the TV historian Dan Snow, as well as politicians Chris Patten and Harriet Harman. But only 32 of the 148 speakers are women, and just one is a person of colour: radio presenter Anita Anand, who is appearing with co-author William Dalrymple to discuss their book Koh-i-Noor: The History of the World’s Most Infamous Diamond.