Rowling "obsessed" with death, reads reviews later

Thu Sep 27, 2012 7:47pm EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - What does the author of the most eagerly awaited book of the year do on publication day?

If you are J.K. Rowling, whose adult fiction debut "The Casual Vacancy" hit the shelves on Thursday, you watch a movie in your hotel, avoid reading newspaper reviews and later in the evening address 900 people at a question-and-answer session.

The 47-year-old read from her new novel and took questions on death, digital publishing and the Olympics opening ceremony at her first public appearance to promote The Casual Vacancy held at London's Southbank Centre (

She engaged openly with fans, at one point accepting a gift from a breathless visitor from Spain whom she embraced and kissed on stage, and later personally signed hundreds of copies of her new book.

Asked by moderator Mark Lawson how she had spent her day, she replied: "I've spent most of the day trying to avoid newspapers. I will read reviews, but I don't like to do it on a day where I've got to go out and talk about the book.

"We sat in our hotel and watched 'Men in Black 3'. I'd never seen it. It was very good".

Rowling, who received mixed reviews for her gritty tale about a small English town, added that she probably would read what critics had to say eventually, just as she did with the seventh and final Harry Potter instalment published in 2007.

"With ('Harry Potter and the) Deathly Hallows' I didn't read any of the reviews at all for ages.   Continued...

Author J.K Rowling poses for photographers with a copy of her adult fiction book "The Casual Vacancy", at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London September 27, 2012. REUTERS/Paul Hackett