J.K. Rowling’s Harvard commencement address to be published in 2015

vgljkrJ.K. Rowling’s 2008 Harvard University commencement address will be published in an illustrated hardback by Little, Brown on April 14, 2015.

Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination will include the author’s speech alongside illustrations by artist Joel Holland. Holland previously worked on the cover for J.K. Rowling’s The Casual Vacancy.

In the speech, J.K. Rowling discusses the struggles she faced in her post-graduate years and how she overcame hardship. The commencement speech is available to watch on YouTube here.

From the press release:

Now published for the first time in book form, Very Good Lives offers J.K. Rowling’s words of wisdom for anyone at a turning point in life, asking the profound and provocative questions: How can we embrace failure? And how can we use our imagination to better both ourselves and others?

Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust said, “I have heard and read many commencement speeches, none more moving and memorable than J.K. Rowling’s. Years after her visit to Harvard, people still talk about it—and still find inspiration in her singular evocation of the idea that living a meaningful life so often means daring to risk failure.  What a powerful example she embodies, and what a remarkable gift her speech was, and is, for all of us privileged to hear it then—and to read it now.”

90% percent of the book’s proceeds will go to J.K. Rowling’s charity, Lumos, which helps disadvantaged children. The remaining 10% will be donated to university-wide financial aid at Harvard University. Little, Brown Book Group (UK) and Little, Brown & Company (US) are also making a donation to Lumos, which is currently undergoing a

Very Good Lives will be published worldwide in English next April, as a £9.99 (~$15-16) hardback and in e-book. It is not currently available for pre-order.


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