Feature

Author of the week: J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling’s new invisibility cloak has failed her.

J.K. Rowling’s new invisibility cloak has failed her, said Richard Brooks and Cal Flyn in The Sunday Times (U.K.). Three months after the world-famous author of the Harry Potter series quietly published her first detective novel under a male pseudonym, she was forced to admit this week that The Cuckoo’s Calling was her work and that she and “Robert Galbraith” were one and the same. Sales until that moment had been modest, but reviews were far more positive than for Rowling’s first novel for adults, last year’s The Casual Vacancy. In a statement, Rowling cheerfully acknowledged the ruse. “I hoped to keep this secret a little longer, because being Robert Galbraith has been such a liberating experience,” she said. “It has been wonderful to publish without hype or expectation and pure pleasure to get feedback from publishers and readers under a different name.”

We may never know if the unveiling was orchestrated, said Sarah Lyall in The New York Times. The U.K.’s Sunday Times broke the story after probing an anonymous tip on Twitter, and there seems no way to tell if the tip was planted. But a novel that had previously sold only 1,500 copies suddenly was attracting too many orders to fill, and Robert Galbraith was on his way to becoming a household name. New editions will concede that Galbraith is the Harry Potter author, not a male army veteran. “And to those who have asked for a sequel,” says Rowling, “Robert fully intends to keep writing the series, although he will probably continue to turn down personal appearances.”

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