The J.K. Rowling Index

List of all J.K. Rowling's writings.

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The Christmas Pig

Index ID: TCP — Publication date: October 12th, 2021

Only the beginning of this text can be displayed here for research purposes. I apologize!

Dur Pig was a small toy pig made of the same material as a soft towel. He had little plastic beans in his tummy, which made him fun to throw. His squishy trotters were exactly the right size to wipe away a tear. When his owner, Jack, was very young, he fell asleep every night sucking Dur Pig’s ear.


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My childhood, the novel I threw away — and how my son inspired my new book

Index ID: CHDNBK — Publication date: October 9th, 2021

Note: Published on The Times website, on October 9th, 2021, and on October 10th on the printed edition of The Sunday Times, to promote The Christmas Pig.

‘I am a product of long corridors, empty sunlit rooms, upstairs indoor silences, attics explored in solitude, distant noises of gurgling cisterns and pipes, and the noise of wind under the tiles. Also, of endless books.”

So wrote CS Lewis. A Gen Xer like me couldn’t claim quite the same, because we had television and boomboxes, and the attic in my childhood home wouldn’t have taken much exploring, being about six feet square. On the other hand, I had woods and fields in which I was at liberty to wander alone, as long as I returned for meals. I’m certainly the product of solitude and many, many books.

The elaborate fantasies I span before going to sleep each night made me far more eager to get to bed than most children. Some of my stories had set paragraphs that had to be silently recited before the daydream could begin. I’d embellish these fantastical tales until they could bear no more detail, at which point they’d collapse and lose their power, which meant it was time to build a new one.

I began writing aged six. Maybe, if I’d grown up now, I’d have joined an online writing group and posted my fiction there, although I was always quite secretive about the work I produced out of the classroom. As it is, only my bin and I know exactly what was in the short stories I churned out as a child and a teen, not to mention the novels that shrivelled up and died after a couple of chapters. One thing I’m sure about: my teenage self would definitely have gone looking online for the sense of self that eluded me until I was past 30, although I doubt I’d have found it any earlier. It takes time to realise that self-knowledge doesn’t reside in the labels you apply to yourself, and can’t be obtained through other people’s validation, although humans through the centuries have hoped otherwise.

In my early twenties I wrote quite a lot of a very bad novel called The Private Joke. I regularly abandoned it for months at a time to write other things, then picked it up again. Part of the manuscript was sitting up in the luggage rack when, aged 25, I was travelling by train from Manchester to London, and the idea for a very different kind of book hit me: that of a boy who didn’t realise he was a wizard, and was taken off to magic school.

The idea of writing for children had never occurred to me before, not because I thought it was in any way lesser than writing for adults — I read voraciously as a child and still count certain children’s books among my favourites — but because my childhood wasn’t very happy. I’m not one of those who craves a return to a delightfully carefree youth. For me childhood was a time of anxiety and insecurity. Yet the idea for Harry Potter came to me in a rush of exhilaration, and all I could think was how much I’d love to write it, how much fun it would be to build that hidden world. I kept writing The Private Joke alongside Philosopher’s Stone for a while until it dawned on me, to paraphrase the iconic Sesame Street song, that one of these things is better than the other, and I finally put The Private Joke out of its misery.

How many times was I asked while still writing it: “What makes Harry Potter so popular?” I never had a good answer. It has occurred to me since that much of what young people found in the Potter books are the very same things they seek online: escape, excitement and agency. The Potter books also describe a community that sees and embraces what others might see as oddities. Who doesn’t want that? How much more “seen” can a person feel, than to be told “you’re a wizard”? But the great thing about a book as opposed to a social media platform is that it puts no pressure on its reader to perform or conform. Like a friendly common room, it’s there to retreat to, but it doesn’t judge. It makes no crushing demands.

The children’s book I’m about to publish, The Christmas Pig, had a nine-year-long gestation. I first had the idea back in 2012, and finally finished it last year, at a time when the pandemic was still raging and I was unusually aware of the need for human connection. I think that’s why I kept imagining it being read aloud while working on it, something I’ve never done with any other book.

I always wanted to write a Christmas story, but I promised myself I’d only do it if I fell utterly in love with an idea. It takes a certain amount of courage to enter the field, given the standard of the best ones. My absolute favourite from my own childhood is Father Christmas, by that master of world-building, Raymond Briggs. My own children adored Allan and Janet Ahlberg’s beautifully written and illustrated The Jolly Christmas Postman.

When my Christmas idea finally presented itself, it arrived in a way no other story has come to me, because usually the source is a mystery to me. However, this story originated with a pair of cuddly toy pigs, each about 7in high, made of soft towelling material and filled with beans.

I bought the first pig for my son, David, when he was a baby. As soon as he could show a preference, it became his very favourite cuddly toy, and he wouldn’t go to sleep without it. Yet, despite his great love for the pig, he had a habit of shoving it under cushions, in drawers or inside shoes, then forgetting where he’d put it. This meant many panics at bedtime frantically tracking the pig down.

After a while, scared that the pig would one day be lost for good, I bought a second, identical one and hid it in a cupboard. Inevitably, toddler David went foraging in this cupboard one day and found the replacement pig. He declared it his original pig’s brother and kept it.

The original pig is now extremely worn and battered. His eyes fell out years ago, so I replaced them with buttons. He’s no longer soft and velvety, because he’s had to go in the washing machine so many times. However, the second pig still looks more or less as he did when bought. He was never loved the same way, never invested with the strange power we give beloved toys when we’re young. So one day I got thinking about that, about what it means to be a replacement, the understudy — the Not-Chosen-One, if you like. And then I realised I had my Christmas story, at last.

The pigs in the story have different names to their real-life counterparts, because some things should remain private between a boy and his pigs. The only parts of the story taken directly from life are the hero Jack’s habit of hiding his pig and not being able to find it again, and the sewing on of the button eyes.

I’m again writing about a hidden world, and magic, although they’re totally different to those in the Potter books. This is a story about being lost and being found, about loving and being loved, about what stays with us and what falls away. It’s also about hope and endurance.

The pandemic we’re all living through has shaken our world in every possible way. However much trouble it might have brought me at times, I don’t think I’ve ever been so grateful for the internet as I have over the past year and a half. Without Zoom I wouldn’t have been able to see family for the longest stretch of our lives. The online world also brought me the joy of connecting with child readers again, as they sent me their illustrations for The Ickabog.

Nevertheless, these past 18 months have also made me reflect on how inadequate screens are, for true connection. Just as nothing can replace the physical presence of those we love, whether it’s family or a battered old toy pig, so the place where a writer’s and reader’s imaginations meet to create a fictional world can never be surpassed, even by the most beautifully realised digital game. Where there is a screen, there is always a barrier, but a book lives inside us, because our own imaginations made it come alive.

First book you remember being read to you?
The Wind in the Willows
. I was four years old and had measles.

First book you remember reading for yourself?
I can’t actually remember not being able to read. The earliest book I remember reading to myself was The Great Pie Robbery by Richard Scarry.

First character from a book with whom you identified?
Jo March from Little Women. She shared my name, she wanted to be a writer, she was uncomfortable being a woman. I identified with her completely.

First “grown-up” book you read that stayed with you long afterwards?
I read Claudine at School by Colette when I was (probably) too young to read it, and it’s stayed with me ever since. There’s a strange mixture of honesty and dishonesty about what it is to be a teenage girl. Once I found out that Colette’s husband, under whose name the book was first published, had asked for the manuscript to be “spiced up” with some very male fantasies about what schoolgirls get up to, I understood why 11-year-old me had found it so uneven in tone.


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A Statement from J.K. Rowling following the death of Dick Robinson, CEO and Chairman of Scholastic

Index ID: STSCHCEO — Publication date: June 6th, 2021

I heard the news of Dick Robinson’s passing with shock and profound sadness. Dick was a wise, kind and humane man, who leaves behind him an extraordinary legacy in the world of children’s literature. He was an early champion of Harry Potter and a stalwart support to me through the twenty-four years we knew each other. My thoughts are with everyone at Scholastic, who I know will be reeling from this unexpected news, and above all with Dick’s family, to whom I send my deepest sympathy. I’m just one of thousands of children’s authors who were proud to be published by Dick Robinson, and I’ll miss him very much indeed.


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Fake ads on Facebook

Index ID: FKFB — Publication date: June 4th, 2021

Some fairly preposterous fake ads have been springing up on Facebook, purporting to show me extolling the virtues of cannabidiol products or financial schemes in fake media interviews.  The companies who placed the ads are misleading people and taking their money under false pretences. We have taken this up with Facebook, but if you come across one of the ads, or a company selling these products with my name attached to theirs, do NOT be taken in!


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A big thank you from J.K. Rowling

Index ID: ICKTK — Publication date: April 28th, 2021

Note: Published on The Ickabog official website.

When I decided to put out chapters of The Ickabog for free during last year’s first lockdown, the response was phenomenal and reminded me just how much I love writing for children. From reader engagement to the avalanche of the children’s pictures submitted to the illustration competition, sharing The Ickabog was a wonderful experience during a very dark time.

I had no idea what to expect in terms of sales of the book, because so many people had already read the story for free. I certainly hoped we’d be able to shift a few copies, because all my royalties would be donated to my charitable trust, Volant, which would then distribute them to charities supporting groups particularly hard-hit by the pandemic, but in truth, sales figures were the last thing on my mind. The Ickabog had been such a special project, I considered that it had done its job even if the printed book didn’t sell very well.

To my absolute astonishment, you bought the book in such numbers that Volant has so far been able to donate millions of pounds to charities helping mitigate the wide-ranging effects of coronavirus, supporting some very vulnerable people who’ve been severely impacted by the pandemic. (you can find out more here)

I was already happy that I’d brought The Ickabog down from the attic, but your extraordinary generosity has made this one of the most meaningful experiences of my writing career. I could never have dreamed what would come of letting Daisy, Bert, Martha and Roderick finish their adventure and I want to thank every single person who bought a copy of their story: yours is the credit for helping change lives and your kindness and generosity will never be forgotten by this author.

J.K. Rowling


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New Year, New Rumour!

Index ID: NYNR — Publication date: January 29th, 2021

A rumour that pops up with some regularity did the rounds again this week, sparked by an ‘exclusive’ story in The Hollywood Reporter, claiming that a Harry Potter live-action TV series is in early development at HBO Max.   In the very same article was a statement from HBO Max and WarnerBros clarifying that “There are no Harry Potter series in development at the studio or on the streaming platform.”

Despite the rumour mill going into overdrive we can confirm that there are no plans for a Harry Potter TV series.


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The Ickabog

Index ID: ICKB — Publication date: November 10th, 2020

Note: The Ickabog was published in hardcover, ebook and audiobook format on November 10th, 2020.
Only the beginning of this text can be displayed here for research purposes. I apologize!

Once upon a time, there was a tiny country called Cornucopia, which had been ruled for centuries by a long line of fair-haired kings. The king at the time of which I write was called King Fred the Fearless. He’d announced the ‘Fearless’ bit himself, on the morning of his coronation, partly because it sounded nice with ‘Fred’, but also because he’d once managed to catch and kill a wasp all by himself, if you didn’t count five footmen and the boot boy.


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JK Rowling on how she unearthed the tale of The Ickabog during lockdown

Index ID: STICK — Publication date: Novemeber 8th, 2020

Note: "The Harry Potter author explains how a story that lay unfinished in her attic finally came to be published — with a little help from young artists around the world." Published on The Sunday Times to promote the release of The Ickabog.

There’s nothing like being married to a doctor during a global pandemic to give a writer a healthy dose of humility. As the severity of the crisis became clear, I felt a sense of impotence and inadequacy as I watched medics and other key workers shoulder immense burdens on behalf of all of us.

When the UK went into strict lockdown, I thought of all the families facing the hourly challenge of entertaining and educating younger children, who’d been abruptly deprived of school and playtimes with their friends, and it struck me that there might be something meaningful I could do to help — not life-saving, unfortunately, but hopefully lockdown-improving.

I had the idea for The Ickabog more than a decade ago, while I was still writing the Harry Potter series. Having written a lot of the story, I read it to my two younger children at bedtime. They knew how the tale ended, because I told them the part I hadn’t yet written.

However, I decided against publishing a children’s book next, so The Ickabog went up into the attic, still unfinished. My youngest daughter said to me more than once, “I wish you’d finish it properly, that was my favourite story,” but for me the moment had passed. I came to think of The Ickabog as something that belonged only to our family. Yet over the ensuing years the family sometimes talked about the story, especially the various towns of Cornucopia. I’d feel a tug back towards the box in the attic, but I was busy with other projects, so I resisted.

One night in early lockdown I tentatively raised the idea of finishing the book, putting it online for free and asking children to illustrate it. My now teenagers were wholeheartedly in favour of the idea, so I got to work. As I neared writing the end of the book, I started reading chapters to the family again, which was one of the most extraordinary experiences of my writing life. I was amazed how much detail my children remembered from when they were very small, and I reinstated a couple of bits I’d cut because they liked them.

The reaction as the chapters went online, and especially to the illustration competition, was beyond my wildest imaginings. We received more than 18,000 entries from the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and India, and more in concurrent competitions run in the US and Canada. The talent, inventiveness and sheer delight in paint and story were astounding. As readers predicted how the story would end and speculated on the true nature of the Ickabog, I felt the pure joy in storytelling that’s unique to writing for children.

I’ll be donating my royalties from the physically published book to help medical and frontline charities support vulnerable groups who have been particularly impacted by Covid-19, in the UK and internationally.

The 34 winning illustrations will be included in the book. I’m so grateful to the winners, and to everyone who submitted pictures, for lending their talent to this project. It couldn’t have happened without them.


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Troubled Blood

Index ID: TB — Publication date: September 15th, 2020

Note: Published as Robert Galbraith.
Only the beginning of this text can be displayed here for research purposes. I apologize!

“You’re a Cornishman, born and bred,” said Dave Polworth irritably. “‘Strike’ isn’t even your proper name. By rights, you’re a Nancarrow. You’re not going to sit here and say you’d call yourself English?”


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Statement from J.K. Rowling regarding the Robert F Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award

Index ID: STRFKHR — Publication date: August 27th, 2020

Since I first joined the public debate on gender identity and women’s rights, I’ve been overwhelmed by the thousands of private emails of support I’ve received from people affected by these issues, both within and without the trans community, many of whom feel vulnerable and afraid because of the toxicity surrounding this discussion.

Clinicians, academics, therapists, teachers, social workers, and staff at prisons and women’s refuges have also contacted me. These professionals, some at the very top of their organisations, have expressed serious concerns about the impact of gender identity theory on vulnerable adolescents and on women’s rights, and of the dismantling of safeguarding norms which protect the most vulnerable women. None of them hate trans people. On the contrary, many work with and are personally deeply sympathetic towards trans individuals.

Kerry Kennedy, President of Robert F Kennedy Human Rights, recently felt it necessary to publish a statement denouncing my views on RFKHR’s website.  The statement incorrectly implied that I was transphobic, and that I am responsible for harm to trans people.  As a longstanding donor to LGBT charities and a supporter of trans people’s right to live free of persecution, I absolutely refute the accusation that I hate trans people or wish them ill, or that standing up for the rights of women is wrong, discriminatory, or incites harm or violence to the trans community.

Like the vast majority of the people who’ve written to me, I feel nothing but sympathy towards those with gender dysphoria, and agree with the clinicians and therapists who’ve got in touch who want to see a proper exploration of the factors that lead to it. They – along with a growing number of other experts and whistleblowers – are critical of the ‘affirmative’ model being widely adopted, and are also concerned about the huge rise in the numbers of girls wanting to transition.

To quote the newly-formed Society for Evidence-Based Gender Medicine (SEGM), a group of 100 international clinicians:

The history of medicine has many examples in which the well-meaning pursuit of short-term relief of symptoms has led to devastating long-term results… The “gender affirmative” model commits young people to lifelong medical treatment…, dismisses the question of whether psychological therapy might help to relieve or resolve gender dysphoria and provides interventions without an adequate examination.

I’ve been particularly struck by the stories of brave detransitioned young women who’ve risked the opprobrium of activists by speaking up about a movement they say has harmed them.  After hearing personally from some of these women, and from such a wide range of professionals, I’ve been forced to the unhappy conclusion that an ethical and medical scandal is brewing. I believe the time is coming when those organisations and individuals who have uncritically embraced fashionable dogma, and demonised those urging caution, will have to answer for the harm they’ve enabled.

RFKHR has stated that there is no conflict between the current radical trans rights movement and the rights of women. The thousands of women who’ve got in touch with me disagree, and, like me, believe this clash of rights can only be resolved if more nuance is permitted in the debate.

In solidarity with those who have contacted me but who are struggling to make their voices heard, and because of the very serious conflict of views between myself and RFKHR, I feel I have no option but to return the Ripple of Hope Award bestowed upon me last year.  I am deeply saddened that RFKHR has felt compelled to adopt this stance, but no award or honour, no matter my admiration for the person for whom it was named, means so much to me that I would forfeit the right to follow the dictates of my own conscience.

J.K. Rowling


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