Jul 25, 2008

Rowling's Harry Potter 'regret'

Author JK Rowling has revealed her "real regret" that her mother died without knowing about Harry Potter.

Best-selling author JK Rowling has spoken of her regret that she never told her mother about her world-famous creation, Harry Potter.

She began work on her tales of the apprentice wizard six months before her mother Anne, who had multiple sclerosis, died at the age of 45.

Rowling's comments came in a BBC Scotland programme about the degenerative disease.

The writer expressed frustration about a lack of funding for MS research.

Recalling her mother, the Edinburgh-based author said: "I started writing Harry six months before she died. That's obviously a real regret, because I never told her I was even writing it.

"She never knew anything about Harry Potter at all."

Speaking of her pain at her mother's gradual decline before her death in 1990, Rowling said: "When I left home, she was walking unaided. By the time I graduated, she was in a wheelchair and in the house she needed a walking frame.

"It was awful to watch."

Rowling, whose Harry Potter novels have been transformed into a globally successful film series, said her mother had shown marked signs of the illness for six or seven years before she was diagnosed.

A numbness in her right arm had spread over half her torso in a year.

In 2006, multi-millionaire Rowling made a major cash donation towards a multiple sclerosis research centre at Edinburgh University to help find a cure.

She has now hit out at a perceived general lack of funding for, and interest in the condition, which affects about one in every 500 people in Scotland.

"It's a Cinderella of illnesses, you hear this all the time, because it's under-funded, because it's ignored," she said.

"I think it's possibly common to a lot of neurological conditions. It just seems to be an area that has not seemed very sexy for funding."

Rowling, patron of the Multiple Sclerosis Society Scotland, added: "People get diagnosed and sent home. It's a frustration to those of us whose family members do have MS that so little is being done, because it is a life-altering condition and a lot can be done now, so why isn't that happening?"

BBC Movie News

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