On 12th December, J.K. Rowling was made a Member of the Order of the Companions of Honour, for her services to literature and philanthropy. She accepted the esteemed award from the Duke of Cambridge during an investiture at Buckingham Palace.

The century-old Order was founded by King George V in June 1917 as a reward for outstanding achievements in the arts, literature, music, science, politics, industry or religion. It is a special award held by no more than 65 people at any given time, and one which recognises services of national significance. J.K. Rowling was made a Companion of Honour this year along with Sir Paul McCartney, Delia Smith, Sir Terence Conran and others.

Of the honour, she said “to be included in the distinguished and diversely talented company of the other Companions of Honour, especially as a female writer, is a particular privilege.”

Newt Scamander’s Hogwarts Library classic Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them has been brought to life with stunning illustrations by award winning artist Olivia Lomenech Gill. The colourful new edition is now published by Bloomsbury in the UK and Scholastic in the US

The award-winning artist has reimagined every beast in the textbook with a variety of different techniques, such as charcoal sketches and watercolours. You can see Olivia in action here.

Proceeds from the sale of these books will go to Comic Relief and J.K. Rowling’s own international children’s charity Lumos, which both help some of the world’s most vulnerable young people to have better lives.

To find out more and read an exclusive interview with artist Olivia Lomenech Gill, head over to Pottermore.

Earlier this week (10th July), J.K. Rowling spoke in depth to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour about why she was compelled to set up her own non-profit organisation, Lumos, named after the spell in the Harry Potter books that brings light to the darkest of places.  Lumos helps some of the world’s most disadvantaged children with the goal to end the harmful institutionalisation of children.

During the interview, J.K. Rowling talked movingly about how there are estimated to be 8 million children living in orphanages or other institutions around the world and how shockingly 80% of them are not actually orphans. These children are voiceless and, hidden from the world, they are vulnerable to abuse and neglect:

These children are so hungry and thirsty for any kind of one-on-one attention that they will run and cling to total strangers…It’s a window in to why the figures show us that these institutions are often centres of trafficking, and horrendous exploitation.  And when you have witnessed the attachment disorders of these children – which have been brought about entirely by being institutionalised – you realise just how vulnerable they are to unscrupulous people.”

The author went on to explain the overwhelming reason these children are placed in institutions is poverty.  She highlighted some of the ways in which Lumos helps to transform these systems of care, working with experts on the ground, to provide support in the community and social services so that children can return to their families:

“…so the family, themselves might need day care, so we will repurpose the institution for a day care centre.  But the child’s going home every night.  The institution is often a major local employer so many people, who are not bad people, have huge vested interest in keeping the institution going.  We can retrain these people to be district nurses, social workers and carers and foster carers and so forth. …So far Lumos has retrained 30,000 professionals across 34 countries.  And we’ve got 18,000 children out of institutions.  There are cases where a child can’t go home.  We estimate 20% are orphans.  We would firstly look in the extended family – can we support the grandmother or the aunt to take the child?”

Lumos is committed to making family care for all children a global reality by 2050.

In addition, J.K. Rowling called on well-meaning donors and volunteers, who are inadvertently propping up the system of orphanages around the world, to donate and volunteer differently following a recent report by Lumos on the situation in Haiti published in The Guardian.

One of the things that Lumos has taught me is be very, very careful how you give.  Because even if you are giving with the best of intentions, you may inadvertently be doing harm.  Very, very well-meaning donors, who are inadvertently propping up a system that we know, with nearly 80 years of hard research shows that even a well-run institution, even an institution set up with the best possible intentions, will irrevocably harm the child.”

To learn more about Lumos visit www.wearelumos.org


Publishers Bloomsbury and Scholastic on Monday revealed two striking covers for the fully-illustrated edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which hits bookshops later this year.

Award-winning fine artist Olivia Lomenech-Gill, who has previously won the English Association Picture Book Award, has lent her skill to this new edition, which publishes on 7th November. Bloomsbury’s jacket features the Occamy while a Griffin appears on Scholastic’s. For more exclusive images of the beautifully illustrated beasts, head over to Pottermore.com

Proceeds from the sale of these books will go to Comic Relief and J.K. Rowling’s own international children’s charity Lumos, which both help some of the world’s most vulnerable young people to have better lives.

L-R: US Hardback (Scholastic, cover by Headcase Design); Digital audiobook (Pottermore, cover by Olly Moss); eBook (Pottermore), UK Hardback (Bloomsbury, cover by Jonny Duddle)

A new edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is available today, with six extra beasts and a new foreword from the pen of Magizoologist Newt Scamander, bringing the original classic book up to date with the exciting developments in J.K. Rowling’s  Wizarding World.

The hardback book is available from Bloomsbury in the UK and Scholastic in the US, while Pottermore brings us the eBook and the first digital audiobook, narrated by Eddie Redmayne.

Familiar to fans as one of the textbooks from Harry Potter’s days at Hogwarts, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them was first published in 2001. The fictional book was ‘written’ by Newt Scamander – the hero of J.K. Rowling’s debut screenplay and the film of the same name.

Other Hogwarts Library books, Quidditch Through the Ages and The Tales of Beedle the Bard, have also been brought up to date with new covers.

Proceeds from the sale of these books will go towards Comic Relief and Lumos, J.K. Rowling’s international children’s charity. Both charities aim to help some of the world’s most vulnerable children and young people to have a better life.

J.K. Rowling’s international non-profit organisation Lumos has had an incredible year, supporting work to transform children’s lives in 21 countries, on four continents; reuniting children with families; saving lives through urgent medical care; protecting children who have been abused or trafficked and helping governments transform their systems of care.

Lumos is not an emergency response organisation, but in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, Lumos did what it could to help.  Partnering with local government and NGOs in Haiti, Lumos has reached children in orphanages and vulnerable families affected by the hurricane, providing emergency food, clean water, medical care and protection for more than 1,500 children.

In the desperate struggle for survival, one 14-year-old boy was shot and seriously injured at a food distribution point.  Lumos’ partners helped get him vital medical care and set about finding his family.  He is now in a stable condition and reunited with his mother.

Lumos also had to work quickly to protect vulnerable children.  In the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster, the risk of child trafficking increases dramatically, because so many children have been separated from their families. Children in orphanages and hospitals are at increased risk of being taken by organised criminals.

Lumos and partners are documenting every child in 50 of the orphanages most affected by the hurricane to ensure they have the basic care they need and to reduce the risk of the children disappearing.

This would not be possible without the funds raised by the thousands of people who supported the WeAreLumos Worldwide campaign, which launched in September with a special gala performance of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and a Facebook Live interview with J.K. Rowling. The campaign concluded in November with thousands more supporting an online CrowdRise campaign and a benefit screening of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them at Carnegie Hall in New York City.


To find out more:   https://wearelumos.org/post/message-jk-rowling


Image © Stuart Ramson

J.K. Rowling, author, screenwriter and founder of international children’s organisation, Lumos, and Academy Award winning actor, Eddie Redmayne (a.k.a. Newt Scamander), opened a special advance screening of Warner Bros. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on Saturday 12th November on the Perelman Stage in Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium.

In front of nearly 3,000 guests, they discussed the work of Lumos in helping children around the world leave orphanages and institutions and return to family life.

“We know children who are raised in institutions suffer developmental delays, that they tend to be physically stunted, they normally have psychological trauma,’ said J.K. Rowling. ‘It is just not what nature intended for children – to be herded together and not given individual love and care. This is an entirely solvable issue. Lumos’ ambition – and we believe it’s achievable – is that by 2050, we will have ended institutionalisation globally.”

Jo went on to encourage people – and particularly young people – in the audience to get involved with the non-profit organisation’s work.  She spoke of the urgent need to change minds, to do a little research, and support families to stay together.

Eddie and Jo went on to talk about the new film, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. They were joined on stage by director David Yates and cast members Ezra Miller, Dan Fogler, Katherine Waterston and Alison Sudol, before introducing this special charity screening of the film.

You can watch part of the conversation between Jo and Eddie here.

This event was part of We Are Lumos Worldwide, a global campaign to raise awareness of Lumos’ greatest goal: to bring to light the eight million children hidden away in orphanages around the world, and help them back into family homes.  All proceeds, from both box office ticket sales and an online sweepstake, are going directly to support Lumos in its work.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them went on general release six days later, on November 18th, in cinemas around the world.

Lumos – www.wearelumos.org

BBC 6 Music Host Lauren Laverne talks to author and Lumos founder J.K. Rowling to officially launch the campaign ‘We Are Lumos Worldwide’. The campaign shines a bright light on the lives of the eight million children living in orphanages worldwide  and the work Lumos is doing to help bring them back into family life. Lumos actually means light – and you can play your part by wearing the campaign T-shirt with this message contained in a lightbulb: “We do not need magic to transform our world. We carry all the power we need inside ourselves already.” (Who’d have thought you could fit so many words in a lightbulb?)

Lumos – www.wearelumos.org

On Tuesday 14th April 2015, Little, Brown and Company published J.K. Rowling’s deeply affecting, celebrated 2008 Harvard commencement speech in book form, with new illustrations by Joel Holland. In Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination, J.K. Rowling asks the profound and provocative questions: How can we embrace failure? And how can we use our imagination to better both ourselves and others?

Drawing from stories of her own post-graduate years, the world-famous author addresses some of life’s most important issues with acuity and emotional force.

As well as contributing towards university-wide financial aid at Harvard University, sales of Very Good Lives will benefit Lumos, a non-profit international children’s organisation founded by J.K. Rowling, which works to end the institutionalisation of children around the world.

To find the book, please visit Little, Brown’s website.

Lumos – www.wearelumos.org

On Tuesday 10th December, the Lumos Maxima charm bracelet sold at Sotheby’s London for £20,000 in aid of J.K. Rowling’s children’s charity Lumos.

Based on designs by J.K. Rowling, inspired by her Harry Potter books and handcrafted by Edinburgh jeweller Hamilton & Inches, the charms were cast in sterling silver before being finished by hand with gold highlights and precious stones, eleven in total, with a twelfth, the wand acting as a fastener.

The buyer, Scottish businessman, Alan Fergusson said;

“J.K. Rowling said before the auction that she was certain the sister bracelet would go to a very nice woman, and she can be confident the bracelet will be treasured by Yvonne and my family for generations.

“My wife absolutely adores the Harry Potter series and she now can’t wait until Christmas day to open her present.

“As someone who supports a number of charitable causes, it has also been very pleasing to back a charity which creates opportunity for so many disadvantaged young people across the world.”

Lumos – www.wearelumos.org

On Tuesday 8th October 2013 J.K. Rowling attended the official opening of the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic, at the University of Edinburgh.  The Clinic was formally opened by the University’s Chancellor, HRH The Princess Royal.  Patients with multiple sclerosis and other neurological diseases are already benefitting from the research clinic, which has been operational since earlier this year.  The Clinic was founded following a substantial donation by J.K. Rowling, and is named in honour of her mother, Anne Rowling, who died of multiple sclerosis aged 45.

J.K. Rowling said in a statement:

“I am moved and elated to see the Anne Rowling Clinic formally opened today by HRH The Princess Royal. Having observed the plans for the Clinic develop and expand to fulfil the needs of patients, clinicians and researchers, I am now very proud to see the building finished and operating as the beating heart of this centre for excellence. Thank you to everyone who has been involved in its creation and operation.”

To find our more about the clinic, visit the website.

On Tuesday 21st May 2013 an annotated first edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, containing J.K. Rowling’s personal annotations and illustrations, raised £150,000 for English PEN and for Lumos, J.K. Rowling’s own charity, when it was sold to an anonymous bidder at a Sotheby’s auction.

Other annotated first editions that were sold as part of English Pen’s First Editions Second Thoughts included Roald Dahl’s Matilda, annotated by Quentin Blake, We Need to Talk About Kevin, annotated by Lionel Shriver and Michael Morpurgo’s War Horse. A total of £439,000 was raised for English PEN. Click here for further information.

Lumos – www.wearelumos.org

Image © The Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic

In 2010, J.K. Rowling donated £10 million towards the foundation of a new clinic at the University of Edinburgh.

The Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic will support patients with multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases, as well as conducting major research into neuroregeneration. The facility is named after Jo’s mother, who died of multiple sclerosis aged 45, and will open officially in 2013.

In 2005 J.K. Rowling co-founded the Children’s High Level Group (CHLG) with Baroness Emma Nicholson MEP, inspired by a press report she read about children in caged beds in institutions in the Czech Republic. In 2010 the charity became Lumos, and changed its remit slightly. Lumos works to end the systematic institutionalisation of children across Europe, and to see them placed into safe, caring environments.

Lumos works on projects in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Moldova and Montenegro and, over the coming months and years, hopes to expand its work to even more countries. The Lumos vision is a world where all children are raised in a safe and caring environment; where none are placed in large, uncaring institutions.

Lumos – www.wearelumos.org

Image © Harvard Public Affairs & Communications. Photographer: Jon Chase/Harvard Staff Photographer

In June 2008, J.K. Rowling delivered the Commencement Address at the Annual Meeting of the Harvard Alumni Association. Her speech was titled, ‘The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination.’

She spoke of lessons learned from her own discoveries – of personal failure “on an epic scale,” – and quoted Plutarch, saying, “What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.”

Speaking to an attentive crowd, J.K. Rowling was forthright with her audience, about the nerves she’d felt prior to giving the Harvard Commencement Address:

“Now all I have to do is take deep breaths, squint at the red banners and convince myself that I am at the world’s largest Gryffindor reunion.”

She spoke of the benefits of failure and the crucial importance of imagination; pressing home the validity of one in realising ambition, and the consequence of pushing the boundaries of experience with the other.

“You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default. Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above the price of rubies.

“The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more than any qualification I ever earned.”

Her speech ended,

“We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better…”

The speech is available to watch on Harvard University’s Youtube channel, here.