“If you’re waiting for universal popularity, you’ll be on Twitter a very long time.”
JK Rowling’s debut novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was published on 26 June in 1997, kicking off an international literary phenomenon not seen since JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. In the 21 years since, the Harry Potter books have sold hundreds of millions of copies, spawned spin-offs including films, theme parks and a West End play, and made a billionaire out of the formerly poverty-stricken Joanne Rowling.
But while Rowling might have made her name as a writer of children’s books, today it’s her very adult presence on Twitter that brings us joy (although we’re not averse to dipping back into the Harry Potter series, either). Rowling is an outspoken, considered and wickedly funny tweeter, who can post a savage put-down of Donald Trump one minute and offer words of comfort to a struggling fan the next.
Neither does she only nail her political colours to the mast when it’s trendy. As well as criticising Trump, she was also an outspoken voice in the campaign against Scotland leaving the UK, and has been critical of Jeremy Corbyn despite her longstanding affiliation with the Labour party.
Unashamedly political, determinedly kind to those who deserve it, and extremely sarcastic, Rowling’s Twitter game is worth recapping. Here are some of her best bits.
1. When she compared Donald Trump’s style of writing to that of a playground bully
2. When she highlighted the hypocrisy of media responses to terrorism perpetrated by white men
3. The time she posted an amazing thread calling out ‘liberal’ men who use misogynistic language to criticise women (seriously, you should read this in full)
5. Her cutting response to the infamous video of Trump barging past the Prime Minister of Montenegro to get to the front of a photo
6. Her ruthlessness when dealing with sexist trolls
7. When she tricked Piers Morgan into criticising one of his own articles
8. ICYMI, Rowling really doesn’t like Piers Morgan – especially his predilection for praising Trump
9. The time she offered moving advice to a fan struggling with depression
10. When she shared her writing tips with aspiring authors
11. When she posted words of comfort for people feeling sad on Mother’s Day
12. When she used Harry Potter references to hilarious effect
13. When she recognised the emotional impact her books had on herself, as well as her readers
15. We still think about the time she tore a strip off a moron who said Serena Williams was “built like a man”
16. And her response to the news of Noma Dumezweni’s casting as Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was pitch-perfect
17. When she challenged people who mock Madonna
18. Her distaste for tabloid newspapers – when the Mail Online ran this ridiculous homophobic headline, she wasted no time in pointing out the obvious
19. Her no-nonsense reply to a reader who asked her why she made Dumbledore gay, “because I can’t see him in that way”
20. And finally, the time she revealed her one big tip for social media success
Main image: Rex Features