It’s down to individual opinion, of course, but there are some celebrities who are distinctly more annoying than others. However (says he, desperately trying to avoid referencing Bono), I think Joanne Rowling http://jkrowling.com is one of the more admirable.
She doesn’t so much go courting the limelight than it seeks her out. She lives in Edinburgh, not in our faces. Granted, her opinions about last year’s Scottish referendum displeased many Nationalists, and her support of the Scottish rugby team at the recent Rugby World Cup led to some calling her a “plastic Scot”, but you can’t please everyone, especially when you’re exceedingly famous. But then she is not a ‘celeb’ in the usual sense. Her celebrity is based on her oeuvre, not getting out of a jungle.
Writing as J. K. Rowling, she of course created a fantasy world of sorcery and witchcraft. Towards the close of the first book in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the headmaster of Hogwarts, Albus Dumbledore, in awarding the points that meant Gryffindor slipped past Slytherin to win the house cup (do keep up!) , said: “There are all kinds of courage. It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” Philosophical indeed. That might have been sound advice for Tony Blair to heed when George Bush got on the blower about Iraq.
The Harry Potter series amounted to seven books, which became eight films. I think it can be safely said that JKR has no financial imperative to work again. And yet she does. And how. Stopping only to write The Casual Vacancy, she has recently published her third novel in the Cormoran Strike series, Career of Evil, under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. In a rather childish way I feel quite chuffed that I have a first edition of the first one, The Cuckoo’s Calling, purchased on the basis of a good review in The Times before somebody close to her lawyers (I think that’s now ex-lawyers) seemingly broke the first rule of social media – don’t use it after a few drinks – and revealed the true identity of the author. Depending on which day you visit eBay, this could apparently be worth anything between £40 and £400.
In the acknowledgements at the end of Career of Evil, she says she couldn’t recall having enjoyed writing anything more, even though “I’ve rarely been busier than over the last 12 months and have had to keep switching between projects, which is not my favourite way to work”. That may have had something to do with her co-writing the play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which opens in theatres next year and is sold out into 2017.
The woman is tireless. There will be more Robert Galbraith books. Probably other stuff, too. Why does she carry on doing it? I guess because she’s a writer. It’s what she does. And, fortunately for us, she must really enjoy doing it.