JK Rowling's 'little story about wizards' distorts truth about authors' pay, says Joanne Harris
The Chocolat writer was speaking at a Parliament event about authors' pay
The Chocolat author, 50, said that Rowling’s “little story about wizards” has given aspiring writers unrealistic expectations of being “showered with money”.
Harris, whose own popular book was made into a hit movie starring Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche, was speaking at a Parliament event about how authors could be paid enough to keep British literature alive.
But she insisted that the Harry Potter author is an anomaly, with most novelists forced to cope with the same financial challenges as those in any job.
“It’s not winning the lottery, it’s a real job, which real people do, and they have the same real problems as other real people,” Harris said.
Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp in the 2000's Chocolat
The average author earns just £11,000 per year, down from £15,000 in 2005 and less than the minimum wage, according to a recent Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society report.
Harris added that many readers see downloading literature for free as “sticking it to the man”, believing that novelists do not need the money.
“This tremendous mystique about being a writer and the mysteries of what people think we earn as writers, we need to puncture all those little balloons and just make people understand we are not ‘the man’,” she said.
Poet Wendy Cope chimed in with Harris, arguing that children should be taught that downloading intellectual property without paying is akin to “stealing sweets”.
Rowling, who published a new Potter story on her fan website earlier this week, is worth an estimated £570 million according to the Sunday Times Rich List. She wrote the first Potter novel as a single mother on benefits.
Research suggests that just one in ten writers earn enough to make a living from their books. Plenty of novelists write part-time, but Harris’ message was clear: don’t give up the day job.
Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Sabrina Corgatelli: US hunting tourist posts picture of herself with dead giraffe after Cecil the lion outrage
- 2 Tom Cruise: Reporters banned from asking actor about Scientology
- 3 A-level results 2015: UK exam board OCR admits it 'estimates' hundreds of pupils' grades after papers 'go missing'
- 4 Dutch King Willem-Alexander declares the end of the welfare state
- 5 Giant Minion terrorises drivers in Ireland as 40ft inflatable blocks traffic on Dublin road
Artist Jamie McCartney: How The Great Wall of Vagina is a stand against 'body fascism'
A Very British Brothel, Channel 4 - TV Review: These insights into people who buy and sell sex are particularly relevant
Cilla Black: Her 12 best songs, from 'Anyone Who Had a Heart' to 'You're My World'
Michael B Jordan and Kate Mara handle excruciatingly awkward and offensive interview questions like pros
Game of Thrones season 6: 'A Song of Ice and Fire should be finished by 1998,' said George R. R. Martin, 'but don't hold your breath'
Is Britain really full up? Are migrants taking our jobs? Leading academic answers the most common anti-immigration claims
Calais Migrant Crisis: Deputy Mayor of Calais labels Cameron's use of 'swarm' as 'racist' and 'ignorant'
Chris Leslie: Jeremy Corbyn's anti-austerity agenda will harm the poor, says Labour shadow Chancellor
Landlords renting properties to illegal immigrants to face up to five years in prison
While we fixate on Calais, the Home Office is quietly deporting dozens of migrants on 'ghost flights'
Calais crisis: The seven claims made about the migrants - and the reality