I love rags-to-riches stories … no – actually, that’s not strictly true. I love no-success-to-massive-success stories. I love to hear about people who pursued some tiny dream which ultimately became the most successful thing they had ever done (inevitably that probably also means money making too, but I don’t care about that – it’s the perseverance and determination that I’m fascinated by).


Anyway, I was recently reading about JK Rowling. Most people would have heard her story about being poor and unknown and then becoming richer than the Queen. But as I read on I was really surprised to read other strands too: her official website says that she wrote in a cafe when her daughter slept and she was on the dole. That was basically it, apparently. But this mutates into other forms: according to the various sites I have read today the cafe was owned by her brother in law who gave her free coffee and food; she was so poor she could only afford one cup of coffee; she wrote in several cafes not just one; her flat was mice infested; she used to write on table napkins nicked from cafes because she couldn’t afford paper….she probably used to walk 8 miles to school with nobbut one clog between her whole family, and that was uphill, and it was raining…


People have sued her for stealing their ideas (and later had the case dropped due to fabricated ‘evidence’); people have called her greedy for such as suing tabloids for printing photos of her young daughter; people have written websites about her birth astrology which apparently was the only deciding factor in the reason why she is now ‘laughing all the way to the bank’ as they put it. People have displayed extreme jealousy, disbelief that so many ideas could have sprung from one person; and it is incredible how the release of each book has broken records previously set only by the last book she wrote. She is astronomically famous and rich, and in such a short time.


But probably the most interesting example of the Inability to Accept the Life of JK Rowling Syndrome is one journalist who has the theory that JK Rowling doesn’t even exist – the name masks a multi-million pound deal between Warner Brothers and the publishers Bloomsbury, the lady who has JK Rowling’s face is really an actress who will one day get tired of her role (NB so what – she certainly has got a good life out of it!) and the stories were written by a close-guarded circle of ghost writers. Its a marketing ploy like so much else we fall for, it was designed to make serious money. JK Rowling doesn’t exist.


Imagine if that were true. How many kids would be so disappointed; how many adults would feel angry and hoodwinked, and how many people would believe the conspiracy was a conspiracy, and that JK Rowling was alive and well and living on the moon with Elvis.


Where would it end? Probably with the crashing-to-earth of JK Rowling in spectacular fashion. There are people out there just waiting for that, and who will be genuinely happy if it happened. I hope that after she’s written her final book(s) she manages to extricate herself gracefully and quietly from fame and just be happy and obscure until she pops her clogs.


I just thought it was really interesting; not to mention sad that for each person who gets very lucky indeed, there are loads of sour people in the world to bring them down. Whether or not you believe the conspiracy story: to be able to cope with that amount of attention and fame, keeping your secret whilst paparazzi go through your rubbish and protecting your home and family against people who would stop at nothing to get their hands on the latest ideas for your next book – all this is an achievement in itself.


I think she exists, anyway, and I think her own story is much more fascinating than second rate wizard stories. I certainly don’t want to bring her down, but I much prefer the Worst Witch stories .

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s