April 13, 2015
Is J.K. Rowling working on a new Harry Potter book? (No, she is not.)
by Nick Davies
Author and Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling sat down for an exclusive interview last week with Matt Lauer on NBC’s “Today,” in part to answer the burning question whether she’s been working on another Harry Potter book. Exactly why this is a burning question among fans is unclear—as Ree Hines writes for NBC, “they’ll always have the seven books (and eight movies and multiple theme-park attractions), but what they really want is…well, more;” she doesn’t even mention the additional stories Rowling has written, and Potter enthusiasts should really consider themselves lucky that the seven-book series was finished at all.
Still, Lauer’s first question to Rowling is about her recent absence from the public eye, and whether that means she’s been writing yet another installment in the adventures of Harry Potter. “No,” she answers Lauer, quickly adding, “But even as I answer that I know that someone’s cutting this on YouTube to make it as though I gave you hope… I’m afraid I haven’t been writing the next Harry Potter.”
Rowling goes on to say, in a statement that piled negatives upon negatives, perhaps in an effort to mollify or confuse fans:
I have always said never say…well, not never say never. I’ve always said I’m not going to say I definitely won’t because, because I don’t see why I should say that. You know, it’s my world and I might choose to step back into it. And in a way, I am stepping back into it.
The last remark refers to Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the film adaptation of Rowling’s spin-off book, set in the world of witches and wizards but not directly connected to the series’s most familiar characters. She’s writing the screenplay for the movie, and tells Lauer, “So, you know, that door is always opened to me. But I think ‘Harry Potter 8,’ as in what happened next to Harry, Ron and Hermione — I don’t think that’s going to happen.”
Rowling says that her focus lately has been on her charity, Lumos, which is dedicated to helping children who live in orphanages and ultimately eliminating the need for orphanages to exist at all. While Harry Potter is unlikely to make any repeat appearances, Rowling does say that she loves writing for kids and plans to return to it before long. “That will definitely happen,” she tells Lauer, “and that will sit comfortably alongside this work [with Lumos]. And maybe I’ll get to read that new work to some of these children.”
Nick Davies was a publicist at Melville House.