Fifth Harry Potter Due Out June 21

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The long-awaited new Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by British author J.K. Rowling, is scheduled to be published on June 21, 2003, Rowling's publishers announced today. The fifth book in the bestselling series will have 38 chapters and will be over a third longer than Rowling's previous book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

"We are thrilled to announce the publication date," said Barbara Marcus, president of Scholastic Children's Books in the U.S., and Nigel Newton, chief executive of Bloomsbury Publishing, Rowling's publisher in the U.K., in a joint statement. "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is absolutely superb and will delight all J.K. Rowling's fans. She has written a brilliant and utterly compelling new adventure."

The publishers gave Potter fans a teaser by sharing the first few sentences of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:

"The hottest day of the summer so far was drawing to a close and a drowsy silence lay over the large, square house of Privet Drive…. The only person left outside was a teenage boy who was lying flat on his back in a flowerbed outside number four."

Judy Corman, a spokesperson for Scholastic, told BTW that the company would announce shortly when booksellers can begin pre-ordering Order of the Phoenix. Rowling just recently sent the manuscript in, she explained, and the company is in the process of designing, pricing, and paging the book. When asked if Rowling would conduct a book tour to promote the title, she said, "We have a few months to think about that."

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, released on July 8, 2000, was one of the fastest selling books in history.