Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

JK Rowling has written a political fairy tale – but it may never be published


In the 10 years since the publication of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, JK Rowling hasn’t exactly rested on her laurels. The bestselling author has written four adult novels, several short stories, one play concept and a film script, as well as contributing articles to newspapers and magazines and maintaining a formidable Twitter presence.

Now, Rowling has confirmed that she’s also written most of a political “fairy tale” for young people. But according to the woman herself, we might never get to read it.

Speaking to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Rowling said that she penned the story ahead of her birthday party in 2015.

“The theme of my 50th birthday, which I held at Halloween, even though that’s not really my birthday, was ‘come as your own private nightmare’,” she said.

Read more: We finally know what Fantastic Beasts 2 is about – and it sounds amazing

The author decided to go as “a lost manuscript”, and wrote most of the fairy tale onto a dress which she wore to the party.

“I don’t know whether it will ever be published,” Rowling said. “But it’s actually hanging in a wardrobe currently.”


JK Rowling at an event for her children's charity Lumos, with her husband Neil Murray.

Rowling went on to discuss her children’s charity Lumos – and admitted that her real worst nightmare is something much darker than a misplaced manuscript.

“I think my worst fear, my personal worst fear, is powerlessness and small spaces,” she said.

It was this phobia, in part, that motivated Rowling to create Lumos. The writer explained that she set up the charity after reading a news report about a boy in an institution in the Czech Republic, where children with special needs were kept in “cage-beds” (cots covered in wire mesh).

Read more: 19 tweets that prove JK Rowling is the undeniable queen of social media

“When you think about that little boy trapped in the cage-bed, he is totally voiceless,” Rowling said, drawing a parallel between the children in the institution and Harry Potter, who was famously forced to live in a cupboard under the stairs.

“We all have something that touches us on a very visceral level, and I think that’s mine… This is my fear, being trapped and being powerless, just powerless to get out of that space,” she added.

Watch: 5 times JK Rowling was a total badass

The author, whose full name is Joanne Rowling and who privately took her husband Neil Murray’s surname, also revealed why she wrote under her initials.

“My publisher, who published Harry Potter, they said to me, ‘We think this is a book that will appeal to boys and girls,’” Rowling said. “And I said, ‘Oh, great’. And they said, ‘So could we use your initials?’”

“Basically they were trying to disguise my gender,” she continued. “And obviously, that lasted about three seconds, which is wonderful… I got a lot of publicity. So I was outed as a woman.”

However, Rowling said that while she wouldn’t have chosen to publish Harry Potter using her initials, she now quite likes having a pen name.

“To an extent, that feels like an identity and then in private life, I'm Jo Murray,” she said. “And it feels like quite a nice separation.”

Images: Rex Features / Getty


kindness use.jpg

City launches kindness initiative to spotlight small acts of heroism


5 amazing new memoirs to read on your summer holiday

jk rowling.jpg

Everyone needs to read JK Rowling’s Twitter warning about Theresa May


Practical Magic is FINALLY getting the prequel of your dreams

Flip the switch and let the cauldron bubble…

by Kayleigh Dray
14 Sep 2017

The Moomins are coming back to TV and the cast is incredible

Ready your Little My topknots

by Amy Swales
12 Sep 2017

Your £10 note is worth a LOT of money if it features this tiny detail

Oh Jane Austen, you’re spoiling us…

by Kayleigh Dray
12 Sep 2017

The Fifty Shades Freed trailer has arrived – and it’s pretty dark

Mrs Grey will see you now

by Amy Swales
11 Sep 2017

10 brilliant books to curl up with this September

From gripping crime fiction to beautiful poetry

by Sarah Shaffi
01 Sep 2017

Puberty guide causes fury with “problematic” explanation of breasts

The book said girls have breasts to make them look “grown-up and attractive”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
30 Aug 2017

The 5 biggest plot holes in Harry Potter, as exposed by fans

Accio problematic plot points!

by Susan Devaney
30 Aug 2017

50 unmissable books to kickstart your autumn reading

Your first look at the essential titles for autumn 2017

by Francesca Brown
25 Aug 2017

The 10 must-read books for anyone with siblings

There's often nothing more page-turning than the secrets between siblings

by Stylist
23 Aug 2017

St. Vincent is giving this iconic novel a feminist film makeover

The musician is giving an Oscar Wilde project a major twist

by Amy Swales
17 Aug 2017