If you happen to run into Allan Zola Kronzek in Sag Harbor, where he lives, don’t be surprised if you end up in a conversation with him about such matters as hinkypunks and grindylows or arithmancy and divination for that matter. He may also regale you about all things Harry Potter, including the medieval and ancient underpinnings of the creatures and spellcasting that J.K. Rowling, Harry’s creator, draws upon.
Kronzek has been involved with the Harry Potter phenomenon for 10 years, having written a guidebook to the series, The Sorcerer’s Companion: A Guide to the Magical World of Harry Potter (Broadway), which has been updated to include all seven Harry Potter books and has sold over 1 million copies worldwide.
Now, if Kronzek should happen to reach into his pocket for a pack of playing cards, you’ll want to stick around and have an amazing time trying to figure out how in the hell he is able to pull off his magic and trickery so nimbly. A small crowd might gather around him, all astonished at the genius of this master magician’s prowess.
However, if he should ever-so-casually invite you to set a spell on a bench and play a game of two of nickel poker—run! His latest book is called 52 Ways to Cheat at Poker – How to Spot Them, Foil Them and Protect Yourself Against Them (Plume). [expand]
Luckily, you won’t have to wait to run into Kronzek, he will be performing mind-boggling mysteries and signing books at BookHampton in Sag Harbor on Wednesday, August 3, and at BookHampton Southampton on Wednesday, August 10. Both at 7 p.m.
Newly released in a third, updated edition, The Sorcerer’s Companion was praised by J.K. Rowling as a valuable resource for those wishing to know more about the origins of magic lore.
Kronzek became fascinated by theatrical magic at the age of 10 when he saw a magician pour a huge pitcher of milk into progressively smaller and smaller glasses, until the entire contents of the pitcher fit in a shot glass. “After the show I went backstage and asked how he did it,” Kronzek said, “but of course he refused to tell.” Determined to find the answer, Kronzek devoured all of the magic books in the local library in his hometown of Pittsburgh, and was soon performing original mysteries of his own. His knowledge base soon grew to include other forms of magic.
“As a teenager I discovered that many used bookstores mistakenly mixed their ‘occult’ magic books with conjuring books, so I started reading those as well, along with studies of traditional magic beliefs by anthropologists and historians.”
Kronzek studied theatre and literature in college and became a professional writer soon after graduation, writing screenplays, music articles, book reviews, soap operas, advertising copy, “tabloid trash” and, eventually, several highly regarded books related to magic.
He also regularly appears in elementary and middle schools, presenting magic-centered programs dealing with scientific method, the history of magic as a performing art, and, of course, the sources of magic lore that inform the “magical universe” of Harry Potter. His forthcoming The Book of Powers – Lessons in the Art of Magic, was written for The Hocus Pocus Project, a nonprofit outreach project which uses magic as an empowering tool for children in hospitals, veterans and youth at risk. It will be released in 2012. [/expand]