JK Rowling has revealed a reason she has ‘never actually said before’ as to why she didn’t publish the Harry Potter books under her full name.
The author is known for producing some of the world’s best-loved books, but prior to the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in 1997 she opted not to use her full name, Joanne Rowling, for publication.
Rowling has previously explained that she chose not to use the name ‘Joanne’ because her publisher feared that identifying herself as a woman may prevent young boys from reading the books, however she revealed another reason during an interview with Simon Armitage on his The Poet Laureate Has Gone To His Shed podcast.
Speaking to Armitage, the author explained she chose to use her initials following her ‘difficult marriage’ to her Portuguese husband Jorge Arantes, who she split from in 1993 and filed a restraining order against.
When Armitage asked if the use of her initials was a recommendation from the publisher, Rowling responded: ‘Partly right, I’ve actually never said part of this before, it is true that my publisher felt that this was a book that boys would also like and they were definitely keen to ‘unisex’ me a bit.’
This is the bit I’ve never actually said before: I actually wanted to be published under a completely different name because I’d come out of this very difficult marriage and I was a little bit paranoid.
Rowling went on to say it was ‘silly’ that her decision to use her initials was impacted by her marriage because her ex-husband knew what she’d been working on, explaining that they had discussed the book and therefore he would be likely to ‘know it was [her]’, however it still ‘suited’ her to have a pen name.
I didn’t imagine it was going to be a success, I didn’t imagine it was going to be in Portugal, but I was a little bit paranoid at the time…
I actually had a restraining order out against my ex-husband so as we got nearer to publication I thought maybe I will just publish this under a different name, I’ll have a pen name, that’ll be great.
So JK actually suited me a bit, to not have my name on [the book] somehow, although of course it is my surname, but I don’t really feel like ‘JK’.
In 2001, Rowling married her second husband Neil Murray, and the pair are still in a relationship together.
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