schoolmaster found himself being given the most unusual
homework by one of the world's most famous author's -
translating Harry Potter into ancient Greek.
Former Bedford Modern School classics master Andrew
Wilson was chosen to translate the multi-million selling
author's first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's
Mr Wilson got involved after reading that the book
had been translated into Latin and the author was keen
for it to be produced in classical Greek as well.
He said: "I thought to myself 'I could do that' so I
wrote off to the head of children's books at publisher
Bloomsbury, although I didn't really expect anything to
come of it.
"I didn't really give it any more thought and then
six weeks later she called me on my mobile and asked me
to send in a sample chapter - then I was offered a
Beginning work in January 2002, Mr Wilson, 64, of
Windrush Avenue, Bedford, allowed himself a year to
complete the work.
"At the start a year seemed like a long time but
about six months passed and I realised I had only done a
quarter of it so I set myself a timetable, like students
have for exam revision, to get myself organised."
The task was particularly difficult as Greek not only
has a different alphabet to English but classical Greek
uses various inflection signs which can impart anything
up to seven different meanings to a single vowel.
Mr Wilson said: "This language has not been used in
this form for around 1,500 years and I am pretty sure
this will be the longest text written in it since that
"When I was studying it we used to translate short
paragraphs and that took about three hours so this was
quite a task but I really enjoyed it.
"One thing lots of people have asked me is why JK
Rowling would want it in classical Greek. It could be
that she has so much money she can do anything she
"I know she studied Latin and French at Exeter and
enjoyed Latin so perhaps she wants to bring the more
obscure languages to young people's attention.
"Of course it could also be about worldwide sales
figures and a desire to have it published in more
languages than The Bible and Shakespeare.
"I don't for one minute expect it to be commercially
successful. It will probably be the least read book in
Mr Wilson is now working closely with the publisher
and expert proof readers to get the text ready for
printing and it is due to be released along with an
Irish Gaelic version in July.
A Bloomsbury spokesman said: "We decided to do the
Greek translation after the success of the Latin
version. We thought it would be quite a fun thing to do
and also useful for students who could read these
alongside the English version as an alternative to some
of the more traditional texts they have to work