Iqbal, Razia. Video interview of J.K. Rowling, BBC News, 1 November 2007.
See also: BBC
article "Rowling completes Potter spin-off"
Context: Rowling speaks about the auction of a copy of "The Tales of Beedle the Bard"
Transcript credit: Meann
Voice-over: The author of the Harry Potter books, J.K. Rowling, has written a new book of fairy tales. But it's not going to be everywhere like the other ones. One copy is going to be auctioned. Only 7 are being printed. Our Arts correspondent, Razia, has been talking to her at her home in Edinburgh.
Razia Iqbal (voice-over): It's one of the most lucrative brands ever. Harry Potter's adventures have made millions of children avid readers and his creator, J.K. Rowling, a household name as well as a multi-millionaire. Now, she's written, in her own handwriting on vellum paper, a limited edition of seven books. Leather-bound, and covered in crafted silver and jewels. A beautiful object lovingly dedicated by J.K. Rowling.
JKR (reading from dedication page of the 7th copy): "Six of these books have been given to those most closely connected to the Harry Potter books during the past 17 years. This seventh copy will be auctioned, the proceeds to help institutionalised children who are in desperate need of a voice. So, to whoever now owns this book, thank you. And fair fortune be yours. J.K. Rowling."
RI (voice-over): "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" contain five fairy stories, one which appears in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows", the others are new, and in some way, a distillation of the themes of the seven books. It's what J.K. Rowling has been doing since the last Potter novel.
JKR: "It's like coming up from a deep dive, I suppose. I've been writing about the world. It's not about Harry, Ron, and Hermione, but it comes from that world. So it's been therapeutic, in a way. A nice way to say goodbye.
RI: Difficult to say goodbye?
JKR: Yeah, very. Very difficult. Very very very sad. But there is an upside. It's quite exciting to think I can now write something else.
RI: Are you writing something else?
JKR: I am.
RI: For children? For adults?
JKR: There's a half-finished book for children that I think will probably be the next thing I'll do or that I publish.
RI (voice-over): She has no need to write for a living ever again, but clearly still has lots of stories in her. For now, J.K. Rowling's more pressing concern is to put a spotlight on how many children in Eastern Europe are treated like caged animals, the focus of the charity she's founded.
JKR: It's a huge, silent scandal how many children within Europe are institutionalised. A child with mental health issues who's been taken from their family or given by their family to an institution and then placed in a cage. And I really would like to do whatever I can to change it.
RI: Is guilt ever a motivator given how much someone like you has. I mean, lots of people have lots of money and they don't do things.
JKR: Is it guilt? Once you've fulfilled your needs and your family's needs, then I think if you're any kind of human then you'll think "How do I do some good with this?" And I think most people in my position would do that.
RI: You've just come back from a tour in the States. You made the news in all kinds of ways, not least because you revealed that Dumbledore is gay. Were you surprised by the reaction that it's caused in the States? Website stuff, people getting quite angry that they should stop their children from reading these books given that Dumbledore is a kind of moral compass for Harry?
JKR: Let's be honest. Well, okay. First of all, do I think a gay person can be a moral compass? I think it's ludicrous that we're asking that in the 21st century. And the Christian fundamentalists were never my base.
RI: And given the reach of her fanbase, there's bound to be more attention in J.K. Rowling in the coming weeks. "The Tales of Beedle the Bard" are auctioned in December but there are no plans to publish the new stories.
Original page date 2 Nov 2007; last updated 2 Nov 2007.