J.K. Rowling will publish her first book in five years on Sept. 27. The Harry Potter author first announced the novel back in February, followed by the title – The Casual Vacancy – in April. Not much is known about The Casual Vacancy, which is protected by a strict non-disclosure agreement, but in anticipation of the book’s release, both The New Yorker and Britain’s The Guardian have written lengthy profiles on Rowling. While we recommend checking them both out, we’ve selected some of the most interesting facts from these profiles for you to enjoy here.
2. The original title of The Casual Vacancy was Responsible: Rowling tells The New Yorker that “this is a book about responsibility” — both in a minor and a macro sense. However, she came across the real title when she got her hands on a copy of the standard British handbook for local administrators. “I needed it to check certain abstruse points. And in there I came across the phrase ‘a casual vacancy.’ Meaning, when a seat falls vacant through death or scandal. And immediately I knew that that was the title.”
3. In 2003, Rowling’s father auctioned off a signed copy of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire that he received for Father’s Day: It read “Lots of love from your first born,” and featured a drawing of a hand reaching for a gnome. The edition fetched $48,000. Rowling has not spoken to him since.
4. Dudley has two children: Rowling knows a lot about the Harry Potter world that was never published in the books.
5. She has no interest in her business empire: “It’s a real bore,” she tells The Guardian. ”Should I be more diplomatic? Oh, I don’t care. No, there is literally nothing on the business side that I wouldn’t sacrifice in a heartbeat to have an extra couple of hours’ writing.”
6. Ian Rankin’s new novel was pushed back to avoid The Casual Vacancy: But he’s just as excited about the new Rowling book as anyone else.
7. Rowling has used a disguise in public only once: When she went to buy her wedding dress. “I just wanted to be able to get married to Neil without any rubbish happening,” she tells The Guardian. But Rowling refuses to reveal what this disguise was in case she needs to use it again.
9. She considered using a pseudonym to release her new book: “But in some ways I think it’s braver to do it like this,” she tells The Guardian. “And, to an extent, you know what? The worst that can happen is that everyone says, ‘Well, that was dreadful, she should have stuck to writing for kids’ and I can take that. So, yeah, I’ll put it out there, and if everyone says, ‘Well, that’s shockingly bad — back to wizards with you’, then obviously I won’t be throwing a party. But I will live. I will live.”