The quests and trials of three young heroes in a world of wizards and witches will be the focus of the third Literature Lives celebration at Missouri Southern State University.

Presented by the English & Philosophy Department, a week of spellbinding activities centered on J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series will be offered Friday, Feb. 28, through Friday, March 6.

From 1997’s “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” through the release of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows” a decade later, Rowling penned the best-selling book series in history. The seven novels follow Harry’s journey through Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and were able to transcend far beyond a young adult audience.

The week of activities will feature activities that open up cultural, social and historical issues, said Dr. Amy Gates, assistant professor of English at MSSU.

“I was doing some math and thought, ‘There are people on this campus who have never lived in a world where Harry Potter didn’t exist,” said Gates.

“(The series) brings up a lot of important issues. It’s not just fun, but there are questions about prejudice, worker’s rights, good and evil, fan fiction, cultural issues and issues around the author. We’re to understand that Harry is breaking rules for right. He’s out of bounds. It’s an interesting way to think about power and governmental structures. It’s important to think about the value of when we break rules and why.”

Harry Potter Week activities will include film and documentary screenings, a photo booth, a writing contest, an awards gala and even a Quidditch tournament.

It marks the third Literature Live celebration at Missouri Southern. Previously, the event has focused on Daniel Defoe’s “Robinson Crusoe” and Mary Shelly’s “Frankenstein.”

Harry Potter Week Schedule

Friday, Feb. 28 

Literature Lives Week Launch Party: 11:30 a.m., Spiva Library Quiet Room. Games, activities and chances to win a Harry Potter gift basket. Sponsored by bordertown, the MSSU student literary journal, and Sigma Tau Delta, the English Honor Society.


Sunday, March 1 

“To Read or Not to Read – Harry Potter and the Christian Community”: 3 p.m., Joplin Public Library Community Room West. The presentation will feature Pastor Reed Dunn, of Christ the King Presbyterian Church, who will examine how the Harry Potter series relates to the early church and the New Testament. A discussion will follow the talk.


Monday, March 2

Creature Studies and Crafty Concoctions: 6 to 8 p.m., North End Zone Facility. The event will include interactions with owls and snakes, a poetry reading, herb studies, art activities and more. Sponsored by the MSSU Alumni Association. To register, visit and click on “Events.”


Tuesday, March 3

Harry Potter Trivia: 12:20 p.m., Lion’s Den in Billingsly Student Center. Presented by the Campus Activities Board.

“Diversity, Identity, and Authorship in the World of Harry Potter”: 3 p.m., Room 309 of Billingsly Student Center. Presented by the MSSU Gay-Straight Alliance, the roundtable discussion will cover interesting character choices, fan-fiction and more.

“Magic, Politics, and Harry Potter”: 7 p.m., Phelps Theater in Billingsly Student Center. Faculty members Dr. Megan Bever, Dr. William Fischer and Dr. Nicole Shoaf will discuss topics such as slavery, discrimination, state identity, and government in the world of Harry Potter.


Wednesday, March 4 

Wizarding Photo Booth: 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Billingsley Student Center. Wizarding-themed food and beverages will also be provided. Sponsored by CAB.

“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone”: 2:30 and 7 p.m., Phelps Theatre.

“Puffs, or Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic”: 3 and 7:30 p.m., Bookhouse Cinema, 715 E. Broadway. The filmed play is a Potter-inspired comedy set alongside the main events of the story.

“Mudbloods – A Film About Quidditch”: 5:30 p.m., Bookhouse Cinema. The documentary is about a team of real-life Quidditch players.


Thursday, March 5

Escape Room: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Spiva Library. Those planning to attend must sign-up in advance for the Harry Potter-themed escape room.

“The Physics of Flight”: 5 p.m., Bud Walton Black Box Theatre.  The lecture will be presented by Professor Jared Durden from Ozarks Technical Community College.

“‘The Magic of Mentoring’: The Failings of Albus Dumbledore”: 7 p.m., Plaster Hall’s Cornell Auditorium. Presented by Dr. Christopher Bell, from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. Bell is an award-winning expert in children’s culture, TED speaker and consultant for Pixar Animation Studios.


Friday, March 6

Quidditch Tournament: 2 to 5 p.m., Fred G. Hughes Football Stadium. Teams must register by March 2 at MSSU’s Beimdiek Recreation Center or online at

Gala reception: 6 p.m., North End Zone Facility’s Academic Room. Writing contest winners will be announced and their compositions will be read. Literary Week will conclude with a waltz instruction and dance with refreshments. Costumes are welcomed.