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JK Rowling's 800 word Harry Potter prequel has sold for $48,858, with the proceeds going to charity.

An absent bidder at the auction – held at Waterstone’s Bookstore in London yesterday – paid $59 per word for the short story, which was handwritten on both sides of an A5-size card. As reported earlier, the proceeds from the sale went to the English writer’s association, PEN, and Dyslexia Action.

Twelve other authors and illustrators also contributed stories to the auction, including playwright Tom Stoppard – whose short story raised $7,816 – Nobel Prize winner Doris Lessing, and novelists Nick Hornby and Margaret Atwood.

Rowling’s story is set three years before Harry is born and features the characters Sirius Black and James Potter, Harry’s father. After some trouble with a policeman, the pair escape with broomsticks and a little bit of magic.

The prequel can be viewed at Waterstone’s shop in central London, or can be read in its entirety online.

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