Harry Potter author JK Rowling has revealed she has written a novel that may never be published – and it is hanging in her wardrobe scrawled across a party dress.
The writer has said she penned the secret text on the outfit she wore for her 50th birthday party.
She told US news channel CNN: “The theme of my 50th birthday, which I held at Halloween, even though that’s not really my birthday, was come as your own private nightmare.
“And I went as a lost manuscript. And I wrote over a dress most of that book.
“So that book, I don’t know whether it will ever be published, but it’s actually hanging in a wardrobe currently.”
Rowling, who adopted the initials JK for her first name Joanne and her grandmother’s name Kathleen, said she was initially encouraged to take on the pen name to disguise her gender.
She said: “My publisher, who published Harry Potter, they said to me, ‘we think this is a book that will appeal to boys and girls’.
And I said, ‘oh, great’. And they said, ‘so could we use your initials?’
“Because, basically they were trying to disguise my gender. And obviously, that lasted about three seconds, because — which is wonderful. I’m certainly not complaining, but the book won an award and I got a big advance from America and I got a lot of publicity. So I was outed as a woman.
She continued: “I quite like J.K. I think I wouldn’t have chosen it and I wouldn’t have chosen it for that reason, either.
“But I was so grateful to be published, if they told me to call myself Rupert, I probably would have done to be honest with you.”
But now, I actually quite like having a pen name, because I feel that to an extent, that feels like an identity and then in private life, I’m Jo Murray. And it feels like quite a nice separation.”
Speaking about her children’s charity Lumos, Rowling said she was spurred into action after seeing a news report about one child in the Czech Republic who was kept in a caged-in cot and said it tapped into her fear of being trapped in spaces and powerlessness.
She said: “I’ve always had that. And I think that just the idea that these children were being kept penned like this was horrific to me.
“But then so although I didn’t think that’s like Harry in his cupboard, I suppose why did I put Harry in the cupboard?
“Because this is my fear, being trapped and being powerless, just powerless to get out of that space.
So on a very crude level, I think that news story tapped into something that I found personally horrifying.”