Literary Anniversaries: 31 July
A birth and a death to remember today.
Firstly, as I mentioned elsewhere, Antione de Saint-Exupéry died today, going missing somewhere over the Mediterranean whilst flying reconnaissance in 1944.
In 1965, one of the most important children’s authors of the twentieth century, (Joanne) JK Rowling was born. There’s not a single person reading this who can’t name at least ten characters she has created, I’m guessing.
It’s perhaps hard to imagine someone as successful as Rowling ever struggling, but her first novel was written whilst she was living on benefits, in a series of Edinburgh cafés, whilst trying to keep her tiny daughter asleep. The manuscript she submitted to publishing houses, which was rejected twelve times, was typed on a manual typewriter!
Even non-fans can’t escape her influence: all of the teachers in the English Department have been sorted by the Sorting Hat using this tool. Can you guess who was put into which house? You might be surprised – we were!