Liveblogging JK Rowling’s “Casual Vacancy” Event

Managing Editor

If you’re reading this right now, I’m going to go on a limb and say you’re likely not in New York, likely not in a darkened theater, likely not listening to Jo Rowling read from The Casual Vacancy Well good news! We’re live blogging (and live tweeting!) the event, so follow along here! Warning: This post contains spoilers about The Casual Vacancy.


And that’s it! Now the signing begins, and we all marvel at having been able to experience the event, even for an hour. Thanks for coming along!


Q: What’s next?
A: Working on something now.

Gale King said to her, “So you get ideas all the time?” Jo said yes, and Gale said, “Are you having an idea right now?” Well, no, I’m talking to you.


“I love writing for children, I will definitely write for children again, but I will also write for adults again.”


Q: If you could live anywhere – real or fiction – where would you live?
A: Meryton and try to cut out Elizabeth Bennet with Mr. Darcy.

Oh, who doesn’t have a thing for Mr. Darcy?

Hogwarts is obvious, “but I feel like I’ve been there forever.”

Ultimate choice is Moonacre Manor in Maria’s Bedroom (from Little White Horse).


“It’s harder to write when there are no limits.”


Q: How did writing a book contained within itself feel, versus writing a series.
A: It was very satisfying to conclude a book in one volume. There was a little sadness, but it was a very different experience. Sad to leave the world so soon.


Her husband says, “I feel guilty that I like him.” He’s being a “prized shit” but he’s cool, he has humor.


Jo thinks that Fats can be redeemed, but he was “really trying to talk himself into being a psychopath.” He’s a very complicated character of whom she is very proud.


Ah! This is going really fast! We’re trying to keep up but they want to get as many people through as possible.


“[TCV] is political in the sense that it deals with themes that are broadly political.” As opposed to being overtly political/partisan.


There was a rather long question we mostly missed, but it was about her impetus to write. Jo said she felt a powerful need to write TCV.


Great applause after the reading, and on to audience questions!


And now Jo is reading from the disastrous dinner party scene!


No one saw the Potter books before she finished them and sent them to the editor, so sharing the experience was new and helpful.


On editing, Jo says she takes it well, and that she’s never hit anyone. Good to know.


Discussing an idea with another person before writing it down – for Jo – is a good way to kill the idea. But for the first time, Neil read TCV as she was writing and he was useful.


Jo briefly considered opening a bookshop!


…To self-piblish Potter because she values what a traditional publishing house does.


It never crossed her mind to self-publish.


“I can only speak as a mother – I would be comfortable with the right 13 or 14 year old [reading the book].”


“Children are very familiar with fear… It gives them a safe place to deal with fear. It’s very, very wrong to censor what a child reads from that point of view.”


In regards to the rape scene: “I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t want it to happen.”


Friend also said it was rather dark, and Jo was worried some people wouldn’t grab the humor as a result. She dreaded writing the Krystal/Obbo scene.


“All of our lives are absurd in some ways, ridiculous in others. That is life.”


A friend of Jo’s first reaction to the book was a texted “Fucking hell!”


Yhe two immovable forces in her book – the two irredeemable villains – are Obbo the drug dealer and Simon (Andrew’s father).


Ann Patchett – “Everyone tells me they (Fifty Shades) are terribly written.”
Jo – “But that’s PORN.”


The difference between her book and Fifty Shades of Grey? “People have sex in this book but no one really enjoys it.


“This sounds like product placement but I’ve got to say it – the MacBook air changed my life.” I’m a PC, Jo’s a Mac.


There was originally a graphic autopsy scene for Barry Fairbrother, but Jo cut it herself because it was far too graphic.


Jo considers Krystal and Sukhvinder to be the heroes of the book.


Jo says the biggest struggle for Casual Vacancy was structure.


LeakyNews staff is already getting a little misty eyed. Ann and Jo are just chatting but for some of us, this is our first experience seeing Jo live!

  • Kara

    Fantastic! Thanks for doing this!