Celebrate J.K. Rowling’s 50th birthday by donating to Lumos

In April 2015, J.K. Rowling launched Lumos in the U.S. in the lobby of the Empire State Building.

In April 2015, J.K. Rowling launched Lumos in the U.S. in the lobby of the Empire State Building.

Our favorite author is turning 50 this year, and you know what that means…

For three years, the Light Up Jo’s Birthday fundraiser has brought together J.K. Rowling fans during her birthday month to raise money for the author’s charity, Lumos, which aims to end the institutionalization of children around the world. As always, the fundraiser runs throughout the month of July; it ends July 31, Jo’s (and Harry Potter’s) birthday.

Lumos works everyday to save children from institutions around the world. Children living in orphanages and likewise institutions are more likely to suffer mental illness, be malnourished, and are less likely to survivie. J.K. Rowling established the charity in 2005, and the organization just inaugurated the opening of a U.S. branch this year. Light Up Jo’s Birthday chose Lumos as the best way to honor the author because it is very near and dear to her heart.

Donating to Light Up Jo’s Birthday is simply the best way to give back to the woman who has given her fans so much. In the past, J.K. Rowling has called the gift “one of the best birthday presents I’ve ever received,” so who wouldn’t want to apart of it?!

As a thank you gift for your donation, the organizers are offering a chance to win a number of great prizes, including signed books by J.K. Rowling and George R.R. Martin, work from MinaLima, the graphic designers from the Harry Potter films, as well as a signed DVD of The Casual Vacancy. Donations of any size will enter you into the prize drawing.

To date, Light Up Jo’s Birthday has raised £7,000 for Lumos, and as of now, they’ve earned£660.50. However, they’ve still got a long way to go until their goal, £2,434.03.  If you’re able, help them out by donating and to benefit a worthwhile cause. At the end of the month, this amount will be donated to Lumos as a birthday present to J.K. Rowling, and the author will be notified of the donation amount.

To find out more about Lumos, click here. Visit this site to donate to Light Up Jo’s Birthday.

Advertisements

J.K. Rowling reacts to Harry Potter actor Matt Lewis’s strip-down photo shoot on Twitter

Harry Potter film actor Matthew Lewis braces the cover of Attitude Magazine this month in new photos that broke the Internet Thursday, and caught the attention of author J.K. Rowling.

The former Neville Longbottom is featured shirtless and in his underwear in an article headlined, “From Hogwarts to Hottie” on the cover of the LGBT-focused monthly. The photo shoot was welcomed by the many fans who have been watching Matt’s transformation over the past few years, from a cute schoolboy to a sexy gentleman. In the accompanying article, Matt discusses his physical transformation and his upcoming film, the romantic drama, Me Before You.

Matthew1

matthew2

Matt’s cover photos garnered the attention of Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, who funnily commented on the photos on Twitter. You can see her exchanges with Matt and Jason Issacs, who played Lucius Malfoy in the films, below.

Visit Attitude Magazine’s site to read quotes from the article; for news updates like these, follow our Twitter @PottermoreNews7.

J.K. Rowling reveals Moaning Myrtle’s full name on Twitter

Moaning Myrtle

Moaning Myrtle

On Monday, J.K. Rowling revealed the full name of the infamous Moaning Myrtle, in response to a question posed by a fan on Twitter.

Moaning Myrtle, of course, is the ghost of an old Hogwarts student that haunts the bathrooms in the castle, making home base in the first-floor girl’s bathroom. As readers of the Harry Potter series will recall, she was murdered by Slytherin’s basilisk at the hands of young Tom Riddle. She made a few appearances in the books, in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Goblet of Fire. Some of Rowling’s followers, including this writer, connected Myrtle’s name to the prominent U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, from Massachusetts. Clearly, J.K. Rowling realized this connection, as she quickly tweeted out:

When asked if she knew the name all along, Rowling replied that she always knew “Warren” was Myrtle’s last name, but picked Elizabeth instantaneously when thinking of a “good middle name of the period.” Rowling joked: “the moment I’d committed myself, I thought: uh oh :)”.

Be sure to keep up with J.K. Rowling on Twitter by following her @jk_rowling — her tweets are not something you want to miss!

J.K. Rowling faces Twitter trolls in midst of British General Election

jkrheader

J.K. Rowling faced harsh political critics on Twitter this week in the midst of the United Kingdom’s General Election.

Rowling initially tweeted credible articles focused on the negative effects of a Conservative majority in Parliament. Users responded furiously in defense of their own politics, so Rowling elaborated on her little confidence in British Conservative leadership and spoke against policy decisions made by the Conservative government; in contrast, she defended her own Labour views. Through this whole debate, unhealed wounds from last year’s debate on Scottish independence were rehashed, and once again J.K.R. defended her anti-Nationalist views.

Historically, J.K. Rowling supported the British Labour Party. In 2008, she donated£1 million in support of then-incumbent Prime Minister Gordon Brown over Conservative David Cameron. Also, last year, Rowling faced vicious backlash online after voicing her opinion against Scottish independence.

Attention: NSFW language below. Read at your own choice.

The reaction to the author’s pro-Labour tweets was harsh, cruel, and unsubstantiated, but the Twitter Queen of our Hearts did not back down. Take note of the interaction below, initiated by now-blocked Twitter user @sjosiah0…

@jk_rowling Fuck off you Labour CUNT. All you lefties are finished in this country, especially you JK bitchface. – Steve Josiah (@sjosiah0) May 8, 2015

@jk_rowling You lefty Labour scum are finished in this country – Steve Josiah (@sjosiah0) May 8, 2015

Jo’s response garnered the attention of thousands of people, including author John Green. Harry Potter fans rose to defend and comfort Rowling after that correspondence, leading her to tweet this:

True, that was only one correspondence between the author and many haters. In one final act of advocacy, at the end of the week the author tweeted a long response through to a user claiming Rowling thought Scottish Nationalist Party voters were “hideous thugs and bullies…” J.K. Rowling’s response, in full:

“I say this wearily, Callum, but where did I say they are? I reserve the right to call out people who swear at me. [The user responded to this with a comment about wishing J.K.R. never responded to him: “she probably thinks i’m an asshole [sic]”]… Callum, you seem a very decent person to me, as did the SNP girl whom I said I loved on Twitter this week when she sent me support… I’ve favorited and responded to other really nice SNP supporters this week, too. I’ve talked on Twitter about the Yessers and how much I had in common politically with many of them. I have ignored and blocked abuse form people with an SNP twibbon for months on Twitter, very much taking the view that the abusive ones are not typical. This week, though, my personal line has been crossed with being called traitor and shite the least of the abuse. I feel no responsibility to hush up that kind of behavior to protect the image of any political party. It isn’t always fun being a famous woman on Twitter and I believe in standing up to bullies.

Of course, J.K. Rowling had the last word.

For more tweets from Jo, follow her at @jk_rowling on Twitter.

J.K. Rowling apologizes for Fred Weasley’s death in honor of the Battle of Hogwarts

In honor of the 17th anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts yesterday, J.K. Rowling tweeted her condolence on the death of Fred Weasley.

As J.K. Rowling writes in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Fred is killed by an explosion in the Room of Requirement during the final battle at Hogwarts. In the tweet, she apologized for killing the beloved character, also admitting that Fred’s death was the “worst for [her]”, more than any other character.

 

On the topic of the battle, Rowling also joked about the odds of the royal baby being born on the anniversary, and being named Victoria. This was an allusion to Bill Weasley and Fleur Delacour’s daughter, Victoire, who was born on the first anniversary of the battle.

Update: See J.K. Rowling’s joking response after the royal baby is born Princess Charlotte, without a reference to Harry Potter.

For all updates on J.K. Rowling’s Twitter, click here. In the meantime, follow us @PottermoreNews7 for the latest Harry Potter news updates.

Lumos USA Sweepstakes: Donate to win signed books by J.K. Rowling, tickets to theme park, more

lumosbutterflyDonate to J.K. Rowling’s charity, Lumos, for the chance to win a signed copy of J.K. Rowling’s Very Good Lives, as well as tickets to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Orlando for the whole family, and Comic Con San Diego. 

As previously reported, Lumos U.S.A. launched last month with J.K. Rowling making appearances in New York which included the lighting the Empire State Building and an interview on the Today Show.

To mark the launch of their U.S. branch, Lumos also announced a sweepstakes competition. From now until May 10, all online donations to Lumos U.S.A. will go directly to reuniting families; that is the ultimate aim of the charity, which works to end institutionalization of children around the world.

To encourage people to donate, Lumos offers any U.S. resident who donates more than $10 online the chance to win several prizes, including: one of two signed copies of Very Good Lives, J.K. Rowling’s published Harvard Commencement address, a family-sized trip to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida, and tickets to San Diego Comic Con for two people. For anyone looking for a simple but meaningful Mother’s Day gift, Lumos kindly suggests donators to contribute in their mother’s name. Click here to read the full terms and conditions.

For international residents, the charity offers the same chance to win a signed copy of Very Good Lives for donations over £10. Find out more about the international competition here.

All entrants must be 16 years or older to be eligible for the prizes; the winners will be selected at random.

J.K. Rowling talks Harvard speech, Harry Potter, and turning 50 on Today Show

In continuation with her interview on Friday, J.K. Rowling appeared on the Today Show this morning in a short clip with host Matt Lauer.

Watch in the clip below, as the author discusses Harry Potter, her age, and her new book, Very Good Lives, the published edition of her speech to the 2008 graduating class of Harvard University. As a highlight, Jo talks about dreaming about one special Harry Potter character…

In part one of the interview, Rowling mainly talked about her charity work with Lumos, as she is in New York City for the launch of the U.S. branch of the organization. On Thursday, J.K. Rowling lit the top of the Empire State Building with Lumos C.E.O. Georgette Mulheir — see pictures here.

Visit this page for the latest news on J.K. Rowling.

Review: J.K. Rowling’s published Harvard commencement speech, Very Good Lives

Copyright AP/ via the Guardian

Copyright AP/ via the Guardian

This week, J.K. Rowling’s famed 2008 Harvard University Commencement Address will be published in book form by Little, Brown under the title, Very Good Lives.

The small book features beautiful illustrations (by artist Joel Holland) on every page, accompanying the text. In the speech, the Harry Potter author addresses two universal themes important to her: failure and imagination — specifically, the benefits of failure and the importance of imagination.

vgljkrSince she gave the speech in 2008, it has been celebrated by her legions of fans, commencement address aficionados, as well as everyday people looking for inspiration. The speech offers powerful words of advice to virtually everyone, but especially students and young people. The book’s title borrows from a quote from Roman philosopher Seneca, which J.K. Rowling used to conclude the speech: “As is a tale, so is life: not how long it is, but how good it is, is what what matters.” Rowling wished the audience “very good lives” at the end.

If you’re looking for the perfect gift for students this graduation season or anyone seeking moral inspiration, Very Good Lives is the answer. The book is available in bookstores everywhere Tuesday. It’s for a good cause too: 80% of the proceeds benefit J.K. Rowling’s charity, Lumos, which aims to transform the lives of children in institutions all over the world, while the rest goes to university-wide financial aid at Harvard University.

Our Favorite Quotes from the Speech:

1. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

2. You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.

3. If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped change.

 

4. One of the many things I learned at the end of that Classics corridor down which I ventured at the age of 18, in search of something I could not then define, was this, written by the Greek author Plutarch: What we achieve inwardly will change outer reality.

That is an astonishing statement and yet proven a thousand times every day of our lives. It expresses, in part, our inescapable connection with the outside world, the fact that we touch other people’s lives simply by existing.

5. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.

Watch the video footage of J.K. Rowling delivering the commencement address:

J.K. Rowling appears on Today Show, talks Harry Potter and Lumos

J.K. Rowling appeared on NBC’s Today Show on Friday, where she discussed the future of Harry Potter and the launch of the US branch of her charity, Lumos.

Interviewer Matt Lauer asked the author questions about Harry Potter, specifically whether there was any possibility of an 8th book, as well as her work with children. She talked mostly about Lumos, including why she founded the charity.

Watch video of the interview below:

The Today Show will air Part 2 of the interview on Monday. To read this interview, visit the Today Show online here.

J.K. Rowling sheds light on Lumos in compelling, original article

via Guardian

Archive photo of J.K. Rowling, via Guardian

On Thursday, J.K. Rowling published a compelling piece on the importance of the cause of her charity, to end the institutionalization of children around the world.

Lumos founder J.K. Rowling wrote the article, which is available at jkrowling.com and http://www.wearelumos.org, to mark the launch of Lumos USA and shed light on the issue. Excerpts are inserted below.

In addition, from now until May 10th, Lumos USA will run an online sweepstakes that is open for every U.S. resident who donates over $10 to their fund to reunite children with their families. Prizes include signed copies of J.K. Rowling’s Very Good Lives, a VIP trip for four to Universal Orlando Resort, and tickets to Comic Con in San Diego in July 2015. All donations to Lumos will be directed towards its projects on the ground. For information on how to enter the sweepstakes, click here.

According to their website, Lumos will be launching another campaign sweepstakes soon for those who are not eligible. The charity continues with their #LetsTalkLumos campaign, which launched last year. For more information on the launch of Lumos in the USA, visit this page. Lumos Foundation USA headquarters are located in Washington, D.C.

Selected excerpts of the article:

The success of the Harry Potter books has taken me to places that never, in my most optimistic daydreams, did I visualize myself. If you had told me twenty years ago that I would one day stand in the Oval Office, I would have advised you to change your medication. My disbelief would have been no less extreme had you prophesied a trip to Buckingham Palace, or to 10 Downing Street, or to a fake hillock in the middle of the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics. Yet I really did go to those places and each occasion lives in my memory like a cinematic still, as though it happened to somebody else.

In the last eighteen years I have also spoken to thousands of children: at literary festivals, in schools, hospitals and bookshops, outside premieres and while doing my shopping. These encounters have almost always been joyful. However, some such interactions are not preserved as cheerful images in my mental scrapbook. They haunt me. The sensations of powerlessness and unhappiness that I experienced at the time rise again whenever I think about them: they are rising now.

The good news is that this is an entirely solvable problem. Lumos has spent 10 years working in Europe, where institutionalization of children was a major concern, especially in formerly Communist countries. Lumos advocates retraining institutional employees as community-based health and social workers. Institutional buildings can be repurposed to house community services. Encouragingly, a ‘tipping point’ has now been achieved: most countries in that region have plans to end institutionalization. Furthermore, the US government and the European Union are taking a lead in changing the way foreign assistance is delivered, to move the focus onto protecting and supporting families.

However, there is still much work to do. The United Nations is currently creating a set of post-2015 ‘Sustainable Development Goals’, which aim to ensure ‘no-one is left behind’. Lumos is concerned that, while early drafts focus on the importance of early childhood development, they contain no recognition of the essential role that parents play in nurturing and raising children. Meanwhile, the numbers of children in so-called orphanages continues to rise in areas outside Europe. Lumos has now begun work in the Latin American and Caribbean region. We have started in Haiti, where approximately 30,000 children are currently living in almost entirely privately funded orphanages. Once again, we find the familiar ratio of 80% non-orphans, and recognize the driving force of poverty.

Lumos has a single, simple goal: to end the institutionalization of children worldwide by 2050. This is ambitious, but achievable. It is also essential. Eight million voiceless children are currently suffering globally under a system that, according to all credible research, is indefensible. We owe them far, far better. We owe them families.