JK Rowling brought us Harry Potter, Quidditch, a reinforced love for London and Severus Snape.
And now, on her 51st birthday she brings us the long-awaited release of her screenplay for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
A continuous theme in her stories has been bullying, and she doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to speaking out about it.
Among her many many golden nuggets of knowledge, none are more timeless than her insights on how to deal with insults.
A decade ago she made a statement about calling people fat, and it still rings true today:
'Fat' is usually the first insult a girl throws at another girl when she wants to hurt her.
I mean, is ‘fat’ really the worst thing a human being can be? Is ‘fat’ worse than ‘vindictive,’ ‘jealous’, ‘shallow’, ‘vain’, ‘boring’ or ‘cruel’? Not to me; but then, you might retort, what do I know about the pressure to be skinny? I’m not in the business of being judged on my looks, what with being a writer and earning my living by using my brain…
I’d rather [my children] were independent, interesting idealistic, kind, opinionated, original, funny – a thousand things, before ‘thin’. And frankly, I’d rather they didn’t give a gust of stinking Chihuahua flatulence whether the woman standing next to them has fleshier knees than they do. Let my girls be Hermiones, rather than Pansy Parkinsons.
Apart from her literary contributions to our collective psyche, Rowling has always been an anti-bullying advocate.
Last year she won hearts and minds when she wrote a letter to a fan who had been bullied:
I loathe bullying and the way it is so often 'handled' in schools.
The author also founded the children’s charity Lumos, which focuses on ending the institutionalisation of eight million children around the world currently living in orphanages and institutions, and providing young people with access to health, education and social care.
As Rowling enters her 52nd year, the loving relationship with her young readers continues to strengthen.