Sunday 11 March 2007
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'There would be so much to tell her...'

By Geordie Greig
Last Updated: 1:30am GMT 11/01/2006
Page 1 of 5

Atear slowly trickles down J K Rowling's cheek. She is sitting in her large and comfortable drawing room in the Morningside area of Edinburgh, recalling the most traumatising moment of her life.

It was the day her mother, Anne, died aged 45 after a 10-year battle against multiple sclerosis. A small part of her agony is that her mother never knew she was writing Harry Potter, let alone that she would become the most successful author on earth.

"The night she died I had been staying with my boyfriend's family, the first time I had ever spent Christmas away from home. I had gone to bed early, ostensibly to watch The Man Who Would Be King, but instead I started writing.


"So I know I was writing Harry Potter at the moment my mother died. I had never told her about Harry Potter.

"Dad called me at seven o'clock the next morning and I just knew what had happened before he spoke. As I ran downstairs, I had that kind of white noise panic in my head but could not grasp the enormity of my mother having died."

It was New Year's Day 1991 and Joanne Rowling, then 25, and her boyfriend piled into his car and drove to her parents' home in Wales.

"I was alternately a wreck and then in total denial. At some point on the car journey, I can remember thinking: 'Let's pretend it hasn't happened,' because that was a way to get through the next 10 minutes."

Rowling is startled by her tears. She is naturally reserved and very private. She is also very ordered and in control. She dabs a proffered napkin to her eyes and pauses before continuing: "Barely a day goes by when I do not think of her. There would be so much to tell her, impossibly much."

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