Page featuring JK Rowling’s first national newspaper interview up for auction

A 24-year-old Daily Telegraph page featuring the first ever national newspaper interview with JK Rowling is up for auction.

The interview from July 1997 profiled the then 31-year-old author, still known as Joanne Rowling and not “JK”, who was on the cusp of international fame following the release of her debut novel Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

A well-preserved copy of the piece titled “From The Dole To Hollywood” is now up for auction, and Rowling’s first chat with the national press reveals a previously “penniless” author waiting for the result of a $100 million bidding war for film rights for Harry Potter.

It is revealed in the interview that the newly wealthy Rowling has treated herself to a £100 jacket to wear for TV appearances after signing a £100,000 book deal, and the Telegraph’s interviewer Elisabeth Dunn predicts in her piece that the author may become “a millionaire by 40”.

JK Rowling is now worth more than £800 million

Credit: AP

Rowling is now worth around £820 million following the global success of the Harry Potter franchise, and the anonymous owner of the 24-year-old Telegraph piece could now also profit from her success, as the page in the newspaper costing less than £1 in 1997 could now sell for an estimated £150.

Much of the focus of the article is on the author’s rag to riches story, and she tells Telegraph journalist Elisabeth Dunn in the piece that she had “no intention, no desire, to remain on benefits”, adding:  “I was a graduate, I had skills.  

“I knew my prospects, long-term, were good.  It must be different for women who don’t have that belief and end up in the poverty trap.  It’s the hopelessness of it, the loss of self-esteem.

“For me, at least, it was only six months.  I was writing all the time which saved my sanity.”

Rowling famously began writing her Harry Potter series in Edinburgh’s cafes, and the page 17 interview up for sale with Forum Auctions is drawn from a chat with the author which took place in Nicholson’s cafe on Prince’s Street, where the writer was a regular.

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