When it comes to the Big Issues, JK Rowling leads by example

JK RowlingShe long ago eclipsed Queen Elizabeth as the richest woman on the planet.

Yet unlike Her Majstey, Harry Potter author JK Rowling  (she’s now Mrs Joanne Murray) retains the common touch by still carrying small change.

While the Queen is renowned for getting everything for free, Rowling is more than happy to put her hand in her pocket.

Indeed, it was reported earlier this week that the author – believed to be worth around £550million – forked out £1.40 to buy a copy of the Big Issue magazine from a homeless man on the streets of her adopted hometown, Edinburgh.

She’ll have been pleased to hear that 80p of that goes directly to the vendor. Expecially since she borrowed the Scottish slang name for a homeless person – that’s jakey, pronounced the same as JK – and used it as her nom de plume. In fact, she’s now the richest jakey ever and as such, should serve as an inspiration to the homeless and therefore be exempt for having to pay for their magazine.

I don’t know how much is rewriting of history and how much is accurate, but the story goes that at the time she wrote the first of the mega-selling books (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone), Rowling was in parlous financial straits as a struggling single mum. So facetious jokes aside, she really is a shining example to poor people (if only they’d bother to stop watching X-Factor in their shell suits to pay attention for five minutes).

Rowling is no stranger to good causes, among them her own charity, The Children’s High Level Group. It collected £1.7 milliion in donations in its first year and the author is believed to have donated £1m of that herself. The aim of the charity is to tackle abuse of children, including trafficking, in Eastern Europe.

All of whhich suggests she’s a thoroughly decent sort. There are plenty of rich people who inherited their fortunes, flagrantly pursued celebrity or used ruthless business tactics to earn their pile. JK did none of that, just wrote a story that kids love and got a wee bit of luck when not much else was going for.

She’s proved once and for all that not all posh/rich women in Edinburgh’s Morningside are “all fur coat and nae knickers” (and for the record her publicist pointed out it’s not a fur coat, it’s wool!)


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