City of Friends author claims Harry Potter creator’s ‘insatiable desire’ to air opinions on Twitter is threat to literary industry
The author Joanna Trollope has criticised JK Rowling, comparing the Harry Potter writer to Kim Kardashian because of her “insatiable” appetite for social media.
Trollope described artists who air their opinions over platforms such as Twitter as being unduly influenced by their ego and claimed that this posed a threat to the entire literary industry.
Rowling is one of the most influential celebrities on Twitter, and frequently shares her views on politics and human rights with her 10.3 million followers.
Trollope told the Daily Mail: “Creating this mass following and tweeting several times a day is like wanting to be [the pop star] Cheryl or Kim Kardashian. Some writers like JK Rowling have this insatiable need and desire to be out there all the time, and that’s entirely driven by their ego.”
Earlier this week Rowling apologised to her legions of Potter fans for killing off the character of Severus Snape in the final instalment of the series, released 10 years ago. The tweet sparked a debate among her fans, who were divided in their support for the antihero – played in the film adaptations by the late Alan Rickman – and dislike of him for bullying Harry through his school years.
Soon after, Rowling poked fun at Donald Trump’s tendency to talk about himself in the third person, joking that the US president had a “Trumpersonality disorder”.
The author has previously said it was “horrible” to compare Trump to Potter villain Lord Voldemort, stating the latter was “nowhere near as bad”.
She has also been a vocal supporter of the European Union, a critic of the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and openly engaged in conversation with fans, including by sharing her own experiences of rejection to motivate aspiring writers, and once responding to a letter written to her by a mother who lost her daughter to cancer.
Trollope, who has written 20 novels including City of Friends, published earlier this year, has been dubbed the queen of the Aga saga – a moniker she has rejected for its underhand “sexism” – because her early bestsellers, A Village Affair, The Choir and The Rector’s Wife all had a Home Counties domestic setting.
Once praised by the writer Fay Weldon for having a gift for “putting her finger on the problem of the times,” she has no social media presence except a Facebook page managed by her agent. Her comments were made during the Hatchards Authors of the Year party in London.
Trollope said she deliberately chose to stay away from social media because she expressed everything she wanted to in her books.
She went on to claim that the growing trend of interacting with fans over social media posed a threat to the literary industry. “It’s so depressing to think that aspiring authors will look at famous writers with millions of followers, and think that that is how you have to operate,” she said. “It’s not, and actually, it’s the opposite.”
Rowling has not yet publicly responded to Trollope’s comments. Earlier this year, the author became ensconced in a war of words with TV presenter Piers Morgan, after she tweeted that “watching Piers Morgan being told to fuck off on live TV is exactly as satisfying as I’d always imagined”, to which Morgan replied: “This is why I’ve never read a single word of Harry Potter.”
Morgan appeared to score a spectacular own goal in the confrontation after criticising a flattering description of Rowling that it transpired he had written.
On Thursday, it was announced that Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the play based on a story by Rowling and written by the Bafta-winning screenwriter and playwright Jack Thorne, which has been playing to record crowds in London’s West End, will premiere on Broadway next year.
-Article featured in ‘The Guardian’ by Nadia Khomami