From July 17 through July 20 2003, approximately 600 Harry Potter scholars, students, and fans converged at the Swan & Dolphin hotel at Walt Disney World for dozens of hours of discussions of the books, as well as a feast, two showings of both Harry Potter films, an amazing auction (thanks to all the generous donors and bidders!) and what was, overall, an amazing weekend for all concerned.
This inaugural event, dubbed Nimbus - 2003, marked the first international symposium on Harry Potter. But the process began just over a year previously, when a group of fans from the online groups Harry Potter for Grownups, FictionAlley, and the Leaky Cauldron began planning a conference that would appeal to scholars and fans alike. The venture was organized in 2002 as HP Education Fanon, Inc. (or HPEF, Inc.), a Texas non-profit corporation which was granted 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Proceedings from the symposium are available in CD-ROM format and in hard copy on the Nimbus - 2003 website.
The success of Nimbus - 2003 opened the door for future events, and made HPEF's mission a repeatable one. Although the group decided not to host an event in 2004, it has hosted event each year since, including The Witching Hour in Salem, Massachusetts in October 2005, Lumos 2006 in Las Vegas, Nevada in July 2006, Prophecy in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in August 2007, the upcoming Portus in Dallas in July 2008, Level Two in San Jose, California, in the summer of 2009, and Infinitus 2010 in Orlando, Florida in the summer of 2010. These events make HPEF the longest-running Harry Potter convention group in existence, as well as the most successful.
Proceedings from our events are available in the following formats:
The current voting members of the Board of Directors are Lee Hillman (AKA Gwendolyn Grace), Rob Ihinger, Penny Linsenmayer, Barbara Purdom, and Dr. Catherine Schaff-Stump. The non-voting advisory directors are Debbie Duncan, Betty Hamilton, Deb McLain, Dan Myers-Power, Audrey O’Connor, Bekki Olivieri, Heidi Tandy, and Willene Wadkins. Emeritus Board Members include Peg Kerr (author of The Wild Swans and Emerald House Rising), Dr. Philip Nel, Steve Vander Ark (AKA "Lexicon Steve"), John Walton, and Carlisle Kraft Webber.
HPEF is committed to producing high-quality events that combine a professional and academic focus with the light-hearted spirit of the Harry Potter series for scholar and fan alike. By bringing these two seemingly disparate groups together, HPEF fosters learning and exploration of the Harry Potter novels and phenomenon from the perspectives of a broad spectrum of disciplines. HPEF’s events have attracted attendees from all over the globe, including the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Finland, Malta, the Philippines, Malaysia, China, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, and many other nations. Its activities span the range of academic and fan interests, making HPEF’s conferences truly Magical Events for Scholars and Fans.