Rowling tells court she's stopped working

Mon Apr 14, 2008 6:42pm EDT
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - An emotional J.K. Rowling said on Monday she had stopped working on a new novel because her creativity was stifled by a fan's bid to print an unofficial encyclopedic companion to her Harry Potter series.

The 42-year-old British author and Warner Bros. are suing independent U.S. publisher RDR Books, which plans to publish "The Harry Potter Lexicon," a 400-page reference book written by Steve Vander Ark and based on his popular fan Web site (

Rowling told a New York court on Monday that the demands of the case had caused her to halt work on a new novel. The author, who wrote seven novels about the boy wizard, said the stress has "decimated my creative work over the past month."

A lawyer for RDR books said the book by Vander Ark, a librarian who has spoken at Harry Potter conferences in several countries, would promote Rowling's series and not hurt sales.

Rowling, whose Harry Potter series has sold around 400 million copies, gave no further details about her new book, but has previously said she has half-finished a children's book.

When asked what Potter meant to her, the mother-of-three said: "I really don't want to cry, because I am British ... It's like asking how do you feel about your child."

"This is very personal to me," said Rowling, who wrote the first Potter book as a poverty-stricken single mother and is now estimated by The Sunday Times to be worth about $1 billion. "I am an author -- 17-years of my work is being exploited here. This is not about money."

Rowling has said she plans to write her own Harry Potter encyclopedia, which would include material that did not make it into the novels, and donate the proceeds to charity.   Continued...

<p>Author J.K. Rowling poses at The South Bank Show Awards at Dorchester Hotel in London January 29, 2008. Rowling is expected to testify in a New York court on Monday in a bid to stop the publication of a fan's unofficial encyclopaedic companion to the boy wizard series. REUTERS/Anthony Harvey</p>