J.K. Rowling Plans US Event For New Book; USA Today Makes Seemingly Sexist Implication About Her Writing

Controversy, J.K. Rowling, News

via Huffington Post

J.K. Rowling will make a rare, in-person appearance in the United States to promote her new novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy. She'll be at at Lincoln Center in New York City on Oct. 16. And... each audience member will get a signed copy of the book!

Tickets go on sale Sept. 10, and prices range from $44 for phone purchases, $43 online and $37 at the Jazz at Lincoln Center box office. Given that the hardcover is listing at $35, and the cost of it is probably built into the ticket price, that's a hell of a bargain. Lincoln Center seats 1,100, so these are going to go quick

In other Rowling news, USA Today published an article about the British writer and her new book today, and it's raising a few eyebrows on Twitter. The author of the article wonders: 

With all her money and philanthropy work, why would Rowling — a 47-year-old married mother of three who lives in Edinburgh — even bother publishing The Casual Vacancy?

Some people are calling it outright sexist. Personally, I'm confused about the implication. Is it because she's a lady? An older lady? Already famous, and therefore doesn't need to write books anymore? Not relevant without Harry Potter?

I just can't think of any other circumstance under which anyone has asked, "Why is that author still writing books?"

What do you think? And, are you going to try to get tickets? I know I am. 

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Comments

Emma C's picture
Class Facilitator
Emma C from Los Angeles is reading Black Spire by Delilah Dawson August 23, 2012 - 3:24pm

What a bizarre statement, and difficult to understand; is the issue with her (assumed time commitment to) philanthropic work and loads of cash, or because she's married with three children...or because she's 47? I wouldn't necessarily call it sexist because I just don't understand what their problem is to begin with.

I say, good for her. I was pleased when the announcement came that she was working on her next book, an adult mystery. It's a big feat for writers to cross genres, particularly when they are so firmly established within one. I wish her all the success in the world as long as she's happy doing what she wants to do, which it seems like she is.

 
JEFFREY GRANT BARR's picture
JEFFREY GRANT BARR from Central OR is reading Nothing but fucking Shakespeare, for the rest of my life August 24, 2012 - 12:02am

'Makes' and 'Seemingly' do not agree. 

SammyB's picture
SammyB from Las Vegas is reading currently too many to list August 24, 2012 - 12:56am

I've heard several people say that she never has to write another book again, because she is loaded. This must be a lack of understanding, because most writers write to write and it isn't about the money. Money is just an added bonus, if they are lucky enough to make money from something they have written. JK Rowling and a few other authors are rare success stories, who have made far more than the average published author. She will write, because she enjoys writing. She will publish books when the time comes, because she has established herself as a good investment in the publishing industry. Love her or hate her, she is an author and she enjoys writing. I don't see her going anywhere and I hope she continues writing until it is humanly impossible for her to do so.

If that was a sexist comment, which it does come off that way, then I would also like to say that some of the most successful authors of late have all been women who also happen to be mothers. Being a woman and being a mother does not make a female less capable, less ambitious, or less worthy of success. I won't rant any longer. When I get started on a feminist rant I've been known to write far too much and I don't want to do that! :-)

Flaminia Ferina's picture
Flaminia Ferina from Umbria is reading stuff August 24, 2012 - 3:01am

It is outright sexist. The evidence? Try to erase the gender-related qualifiers:

With all her money and philanthropy work, why would Rowling — a 47-year-old who lives in Edinburgh — even bother publishing The Casual Vacancy?

The new question implies that any 47 year old who lives in Edinburgh and has some money shouldn't bother publishing books.

It wouldn't sound like a good piece of journalism to me.

 

John Taylor's picture
John Taylor from Middlesborough, UK is reading Sherlock Holmes: House of Silk August 24, 2012 - 3:56am

It reads badly on all counts. 

If you remove the ineterruption it seems to suggest that financially successful artists/people should just give up if they've made some money. 

No one asks why Bill Gates (with all his money and philanthropy work) even bothered releasing a new version of Windows.

Although I do admit to repeatedly asking why George Lucas even bothered to make new Star Wars films.

I can't decide if the interruption is purposefully sexist or just poorly placed, either way it seems irrlelevant to whatever misguided point the journalist is attempting to make.

 

 

 
Flaminia Ferina's picture
Flaminia Ferina from Umbria is reading stuff August 24, 2012 - 4:53am

Okay. Let's take the question again, but now with only gender-related qualifiers in the interruption:

With all her money and philanthropy work, why would Rowling — a married mother of three — even bother publishing The Casual Vacancy?

What we have here is all a woman could (should?) ask from life. Money, philanthropy work to showcast her nurturing qualities, a husband, and three children! Why bother?

I suspect 47 and Edinburgh were placed there to dilute the double standard.

What about this:

With all her money and philanthropy work, why would Rowling even bother publishing The Casual Vacancy?

It would have been enough to get the point across, wouldn't it? The issue here is sexism, not the quality of the piece.

Jane Wiseman's picture
Jane Wiseman from living outside of Albuquerque/in Minneapolis is reading Look to Windward by Iain M. Banks August 24, 2012 - 1:33pm

How about if it were Stephen King? "With all of his money and philanthropy work, why would King even bother publishing [insert King title du jour]?"

Well. . .I really don't know whether Stephen King does philanthropy work, but would ANYONE write that sentence or make that speculation? Sexism, definitely, with a little age-ism thrown in.

SammyB's picture
SammyB from Las Vegas is reading currently too many to list August 24, 2012 - 1:38pm

I agree with you, flaminia_klla. The last one asks the same question, without implying ageism and sexism on the part of the journalist(s). It is still a stupid question to ask, but at least it is less offensive.

ReneeAPickup's picture
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ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig August 24, 2012 - 2:41pm

King does do philanthropy work. And I believe he also has 3 children...and he's written a lot more books than Rowling.

It's a very strange question, period, but I think the inclusion of "married mother of three" hints at sexism. The inclusion of her age also reads like ageism.

I'm not a big Harry Potter fan, but it's absolutely groundless to attack her for writing another book. It's what writers do...they write. Not rocket science. They tend to this regardless of age, gender, marital status and regardless of how many children they have. 

ReneeAPickup's picture
Class Facilitator
ReneeAPickup from Southern California is reading Wanderers by Chuck Wendig August 24, 2012 - 2:42pm

Although I do admit to repeatedly asking why George Lucas even bothered to make new Star Wars films.

But this is different, isn't? No one asks "Why would George Lucas continue to make films?" they asked why he was making Star Wars films, if Rowling were writing another Harry Potter book, I bet even her hardest core fans would be scratching their heads.

Lou's picture
Lou from AMERIKUH is reading Trainspotting August 24, 2012 - 6:33pm

The statement isn't too well phrased or anything, but it would never have occured to me that it might be sexist. I don't think it has anyting to do with her gender. It's more that people figure that Harry Potter was her big thing, it's what she'll be remembered for. She's already got all the fame and money she can get, so that isn't a concern, and she's made her mark on society, her legacy is already firmly in place. And anyways, anything she puts out now is going to be completely overshadowed by Potter. I mean, I don't believe that, but I feel like that's why people wonder why she would bother, not her gender. People have gotten to be a bit over-sensitive about sexism, I think (as well as other issues), and have maybe started seeing it all over the place.

Flaminia Ferina's picture
Flaminia Ferina from Umbria is reading stuff August 25, 2012 - 2:46am

It is all over the place.

About a man writer, a journalist could write: He's got all the boobs, and cars, and women making sandwiches he wants, why bother writing another book?

It would be sexist as hell (sexism against a male) and there are countless instances of this kind of standard too. When I see it, I think it's sexist to consider a male, every male, like just a sex/testorone/power-starverd creature.

It still seems weird that a woman might want something more than, or alternative to, making children and being a wife. It feels weird that a woman might just love to write, and make it her job.

Just because we're not so sexist, it doesn't mean other people are as sensitive. Too many aren't, if you ask me.

Problem is, we will hardly see a journalist wonder Why bother writing another book? about a man who's got boobs, cars, and custom-made sandwiches galore, because it's just natural - in our culture - that a writer man will just go on writing. Because that's his job.

I like the Stephen King parallel @Jane, it fits like a glove.