J.K. Rowling is one of the world's most beloved authors. She's one of the world's richest authors. But can she become one of the few authors to successfully make the transition from children's book author to writing fiction for adults?
Join me, Carolyn Kellogg, for a conversation 10 a.m. Tuesday looking ahead to Rowling's first novel for grown-ups, "The Casual Vacancy." It will be published by Little, Brown on Thursday.
Unlike most works of literary fiction, Rowling's novel is being kept under wraps. Matthew Bell wrote in the Independent on Sunday, "My colleague, Katy Guest, our literary editor, was asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement before her reviewer could be 'hand-delivered' a copy of the book. Embargoes are normal, but within the legalese, Guest found a clause stating that even the existence of the agreement could not be mentioned. A sort of publishing superinjunction."
That means we can't talk about the book itself. But there are a lot of interesting questions: What do scholars think about Rowling's prose -- can it evolve into mature literature? Is the Harry Potter series really for kids, or is it adult literature of its own? Does withholding a book from critics bode poorly for how good (or bad) it might be, or is it irrelevant?