JK Rowling criticises UK press

2011-11-25 10:04

London - Harry Potter author JK Rowling lambasted Britain's press on Thursday for invading her children's privacy, telling an inquiry that a journalist even slipped a letter into her daughter's schoolbag.

Rowling, whose books about the boy wizard have sold more than 400 million copies and spawned a lucrative series of films, said she was also forced to move from one house after just two years because of the media.

"I felt such a sense of invasion," Rowling told the inquiry led by Lord Justice Brian Leveson and commissioned by Prime Minister David Cameron after the phone-hacking at the News of the World tabloid.

She said the letter from the journalist came in the initial burst of publicity for the Harry Potter novels, when her daughter was in her first year of primary school.

'Under siege'

"I unzipped her bag in the evening and among the usual letters from school and debris that any child generates, I found an envelope addresed to me. The letter was from a journalist," she said, her voice cracking with emotion.

"It's my recollection that the letter said that he intended to ask a mother at the school to put this in my daughter's bag.

"It's very difficult to say how angry I felt that my five-year-old's school was no longer a place of complete security from journalists."

Wearing a sober grey suit over a white T-shirt, and with black glasses, she said she felt like she was "under siege" after the birth of her two subsequent children when the media were camped outside her house.

The author said she had tried to keep her children out of the limelight to give them a normal childhood and that she assumed the media would leave them alone, but that some journalists saw that as a "challenge".

Rowling was speaking after actress Sienna Miller and former world motorsports boss Max Mosley gave their accounts of media intrusion to the inquiry earlier on Thursday.