It was a big surprise and an even greater honour for me when I knew I had received the Príncipe de Asturias Prize of Concord. Indeed, I didn’t intend to teach or preach to children. In fact, I think that, except for some rare exceptions, fiction literature works for children lose interest when the author is more focused in teaching morals to their readers than in captivating them with his or her tale.
Nevertheless, I’ve always believed that Harry Potter books are highly moral. I wanted to portray the ambiguity of a society where intolerance, cruelty, hypocrisy and corruption are frequent, so I could better show how heroic it can be, no matter what your age is, fighting in a battle that will never be won. I also wanted to reflect the fact that life between 11 and 17 years old can be hard and confusing, even if one has a magic wand.
I started to write 32 years ago and I’ve never wanted to be anything else other than a writer. When I was a child I got lost in my books, which were something essential for me, and my appreciation for them has grown with time. Children need tales because they need to test their imagination, to try by themselves other people’s ideas, to live other lives, to send their minds to places where their bodies aren’t mature enough to go yet. There is no movie, TV show, computer game or videogame that can emulate the magic that exists when the imagination of a reader meets with that of the author to create and unique and private world.
The Príncipe de Asturias Prize means very much for me, for it celebrates the aspect of my books I’m most proud of: the fact that so many children, coming from so different circumstances and conditions, have chosen to follow Harry through his five years at Hogwarts so far. That’s why I will donate the money of this prize to the Developing Countries Fund of the International Reading Association, which promotes literacy worldwide.