A SPELL was cast over Cheltenham on Saturday night as 2,000 Harry Potter fans travelled from across the world to see their favourite author.

J.K Rowling was speaking about her first adult novel, The Casual Vacancy, set in a world of muggles. The novel charts the aftermath of the unexpected death of a member of the parish council and is far from the world of Hogwarts - portraying prostitution, drug addiction and rape.

But the author revealed to the audience at Cheltenham Literature Festival that she will be returning to children’s books and her next project will be for children ‘slightly younger’ than those who read the Potter series.

She also said the ‘proudest moment’ of her life was participating in the London Olympics opening ceremony.

"I think I will see it on my death bed. It was breathtaking and I felt extraordinarily proud to be in it," she said.

"When the huge Voldemort grew up out of the middle of the stage, my entire body went cold and I thought - how the hell did this happen?"

For Rowling the talk was a chance to promote her new book, but for her fans it was a chance to meet their hero. Through tears, audience members took to the microphone during question time to tell the author how adored she was.

Most questions began with "I love you" and one female fan was left utterly spellbound when she was allowed to go up to the stage and present the author with a bouquet and a letter.

One female audience member said: "I hope you know how many lives you have touched." Another told how she had travelled all the way from Shanghai just to see her favourite author.

And afterwards, a queue of fans holding back their tears snaked around the building while Rowling signed autographs for three hours. It is safe to say that Harry Potter hysteria continues to follow Rowling wherever she goes.