The literary landscape has changed. It is no longer a rule that writers be defined by the novels they write, or the essays they publish. The art of putting words on paper, or typing them on a keyboard, has found new meaning. And JK Rowling, author of the phenomenal Harry Potter series, has paved the way for writers in the digital age.
It has been an eventful year for Rowling, who incidentally, hasn’t published a single novel in 2016 - at least in the traditional sense. But it might just be the year in which she has produced the most content.
The year began with a promise, of a new Harry Potter story, in the form of a play, which would come 9 years after the final book in the series had been published. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child opened to rave reviews, and an accompanying book, which reproduced the play on paper, became an instant bestseller in July.
In August, she announced three new Harry Potter spinoffs would be released as e-books starting September.
Called Pottermore Presents, the series is a collection of Rowling’s writing for Pottermore.com, as well as new stories about characters including Potter’s potions master Horace Slughorn, Hogwarts headmistress Professor Minerva McGonagall and Ministry of Magic bureaucrat Dolores Umbridge.
And then she began preparing for her screenwriting debut with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a prequel of sorts, set 70 years before the events of the Harry Potter saga.
Initially planned as a new trilogy of films, Rowling announced in November, about a week before the film’s premiere, that the series would in fact comprise of 5 movies - and she would, in all probability, be writing all of them.
Fantastic Beasts opened to mostly warm reception, and has so far earned an impressive $745 million worldwide (Rs 5000 crore). The film’s script was released as a book to coincide with its release, and unsurprisingly, it jumped straight to the top of several bestseller lists.
In December, Rowling, who already has a lavish website in Pottermore.com, unveiled a new online home: JKRowling.com, which would feature new writing, and news. Along with this announcement came the news that she would be published two new novels (yes, the good, old-fashioned kind) in 2017. One would be the fourth Cormoran Strike book, which she writes under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith (coincidentally, the TV adaptation of this series also kicked off this year), but the identity of the second book is still being kept a secret.
Could it be her second novel for adults (after 2012’s The Casual Vacancy)? Or could it, in a move that will surely set the literary world on fire, be a new Harry Potter novel? But before we get ahead of ourselves, we must understand that this would be highly unlikely.
Aside from the movies and the plays, Rowling also found the time to write original content for Pottermore (which is slowly becoming quite the comprehensive encyclopaedia for Potter fans) and stepped up her already formidable Twitter game, leading the fight against Donald Trump and fighting for several other social issues.
So even without doing what she does best - that is, writing books - JK Rowling has evolved. She is a true writer for the Internet age.
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