JK Rowling: Why I concealed my identity for The Cuckoo’s Calling

JK Rowling says she “wasn’t trying to trick or fool anyone” by writing under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

The Harry Potter creator, 52, penned crime story The Cuckoo’s Calling – one novel in the Strike detective series of novels – before her cover was blown by a legal firm.

The best-selling author told Radio Times magazine: “The pseudonym was a way of disconnecting myself from all of the baggage that comes with being me.

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Best-selling author JK Rowling (Yui Mok/PA)

“Being me has many privileges, so this isn’t a complaint in the slightest.

“But at the same time, as I entered this new genre, one that I’d always wanted to write in, I really wanted to go in without expectation.”

She added: “I wanted to go back to the beginning. I wanted it to just be about the writing. I wasn’t trying to trick anyone or fool anyone, but I certainly hoped I’d be able to get three books out of Robert before anyone knew.”

Tom Burke
Tom Burke in Strike – The Cuckoo’s Calling (BBC/Bronte Films/Steffan Hill)

The Cuckoo’s Calling has been adapted into three episodes for BBC1, which will be followed by The Silkworm and Career Of Evil, with Tom Burke, who Rowling said was “extremely convincing” as a wounded soldier turned investigator, and Holliday Grainger in the starring roles.

Producers of the drama say that they have been careful to ensure any depiction of violence against women is “sensitively filmed”.

“I feel very strongly about it,” said series executive producer Ruth Kenley-Letts.

Holliday Grainger
Holliday Grainger (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

“There have been shows I have felt unable to watch because of the voyeuristic level of violence against women. So, as a producer, I’m very careful about how that’s shown on television.”

Cormoran Strike is also said to be different to the usual mould of male detectives because he cracks a smile.

“One of the things I loved about Strike was that, although he’s grumpy and he’s got problems, he’s not tortured. He’s hard-working, not self-pitying, and kind”, Ben Richards, who adapted The Cuckoo’s Calling, told the magazine.

“Even in the very first scene, although Strike is having a shit day, he smiles at Robin (Grainger). And it struck me that it is almost unknown for a male detective to smile on TV.”

Rowling, an executive producer of the new drama, has hinted at more Strike books, saying they could eventually outnumber her Harry Potter titles.


 

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