J.K. Rowling’s fairy tale The Ickabog is published today as a hardback, e-book and audiobook.  The beautiful new gift hardback edition is brought to life with full-colour illustrations by the young winners of The Ickabog illustration competitions around the world, which will also be available to purchasers of the audiobook as a full-colour PDF.  The audiobook is performed by Stephen Fry and published by Audible.  The book is now available in English, Italian, German, Spanish. Brazilian Portuguese, Bulgarian, Dutch,  Simplified Chinese and Russian with more translations to follow.

J.K. Rowling is donating her net royalties from The Ickabog to help support vulnerable groups who’ve been particularly impacted by Covid-19, in the UK and internationally. She is making an initial donation to her charitable Trust, The Volant Charitable Trust, to help medical and frontline charities make a meaningful impact in the short term.

For more information about The Ickabog go to www.theickabog.com.

 

Last night, in New York City, J.K. Rowling was honoured with a Ripple of Hope Award from Robert F Kennedy Human Rights. The distinguished award celebrates leaders in their field who demonstrate commitment to social change and reflect Robert Kennedy’s passion for equality, justice, basic human rights, and his belief that each of us can make a difference.  

She was one of four honorees this year, who also included Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. Previous recipients of the Ripple of Hope Award include Barack Obama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bono, Hillary Rodham Clinton, George Clooney, and Harry Belafonte.

In her acceptance speech J.K. Rowling said: “Robert Kennedy embodied everything I most admire in a human being. He was morally and physically courageous – and I believe, as Churchill did, that courage is foremost among virtues, because it secures all the others.”

She went on to say, “He was a man of both empathy and action. He helped bring about real change and he continues to inspire people way beyond the country of his birth. I’m not sure we can ask much more of any politician, or indeed, human being.” 

“I count this one of the highest honours I’ve ever been given,” said Rowling on receiving the award from Robert’s daughter Kerry Kennedy.  J.K. Rowling chose the first name of her crime writing nom-de-plume, Robert Galbraith, in honour of her hero.

J.K. Rowling giving her acceptance remarks, and further information about the Ripple of Hope Awards can be found here: https://rfkhumanrights.org/awards/ripple-of-hope-award

J.K. Rowling today helped launch #HelpingNotHelping – a new campaign led by her children’s charity, Lumos, to challenge attitudes towards orphanage tourism and volunteering.

Speaking in London at One Young World, the global forum for young leaders, J.K. Rowling, as Founder and President of Lumos, delivered a powerful call to action to end orphanage tourism and volunteering, which can drive family separation and child trafficking – highlighting that orphanages are a harmful and outdated system of ‘care’ for children:

“Despite the best of intentions, the sad truth is that visiting and volunteering in orphanages drives an industry that separates children from their families and puts them at risk of neglect and abuse. We want this campaign to highlight the extent of the harm that orphanages cause and to put an end to orphanage tourism and volunteering for good.

My message to young people today is yes volunteer – but plan carefully and thoughtfully. Your time and energy are precious: use them wisely and they will help change the world.  Do not volunteer in orphanages. Instead, look at what drives children into institutions and dedicate your time to projects that tackle poverty or support communities with vital services.”

J.K. Rowling was joined on stage by Alex Christopoulos (Dep CEO Lumos), Ade Adepitan as well as two One Young World Ambassadors and self-advocates Ruth Wackuka Waithera from Kenya and Eluxon Tassy, from Haiti. As care leavers, Ruth and Eluxon shared their experiences of growing up in orphanages and called for change in the way vulnerable children are cared for around the world.

Today J.K. Rowling’s children’s charity Lumos has launched a new sweepstake which will give Harry Potter fans a chance to experience the Wizarding World like never before and at the same time help support Lumos.   

One winner and three friends will embark on the Harry Potter Trip of a Lifetime, travelling to four cities around the world for the most exclusive and magical Harry Potter experiences including tickets to the opening night of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in San Francisco, visits to the Warner Bros. Studio Tour London – the Making of Harry Potter, and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood. The winners will also have the chance to meet Harry Potter film stars Bonnie Wright in Los Angeles and Warwick Davis in London.

Bonnie Wright, a Lumos ambassador, said: “This really will be a once in a lifetime trip for one lucky Harry Potter fan, and the best part is that all donations will support Lumos do their fantastic work to help children around the world to find a family. I can’t wait to meet the lucky winner when they come to LA – so get entering today, and it could be you.”

The sweepstake runs from 3 October – 12 November 2019 and is open to UK and US residents only. Find out how to enter: http://bit.ly/2p2mJ4F

J.K. Rowling has donated £15.3m (inclusive of Gift Aid) to the University of Edinburgh, to help create new facilities and support vital research at the University’s Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic. This donation will help improve outcomes for generations of people with multiple sclerosis.

The Anne Rowling Clinic was founded with her previous donation in 2010, and is named in memory of her mother who died of MS, aged 45.   It has established itself as an integrated care and research facility focusing on MS and neurological conditions.

J.K. Rowling said: “When the Anne Rowling Clinic was first founded, none of us could have predicted the incredible progress that would be made in the field of Regenerative Neurology, with the Clinic leading the charge.

“I am delighted to now support the Clinic into a new phase of discovery and achievement, as it realises its ambition to create a legacy of better outcomes for generations of people with MS and non-MS neurodegenerative diseases.”

Professor Siddharthan Chandran, Clinic Director, said: “This incredibly far-sighted and generous donation will unlock the potential of personalised medicine for people with MS in Scotland and further afield.”

Find out more about the Anne Rowling Clinic here.

J.K. Rowling will join Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi, environmental activist Wendy Abrams, and Livongo Health Executive Chairman Glen Tullman as honorees at the 51st annual RFK Human Rights Ripple of Hope ceremony held in New York on 12th December 2019.  The Ripple of Hope laureates were selected for their lifelong commitment to human rights and their exceptional work toward a more just and peaceful world. 

Robert F Kennedy Human Rights President Kerry Kennedy said: ‘My father believed that each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot other others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope.  We are proud to honor these extraordinary laureates who have sent forth countless ripples of hope to millions of people inspired by their example.’

The Ripple of Hope Awards recognise leaders from government, business, advocacy and entertainment who are dedicated to advancing positive social change.  Past laureates include Barack Obama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bono, Hillary Rodham Clinton, George Clooney, Harry Belafonte, Tim Cook, Tony Bennett and Robert de Niro.

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.

https://wearelumos.org/news/jk-rowling-and-eddie-redmayne-captivate-audience-conversation-about-children%E2%80%99s-non-profit-lumos

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.