J.K. Rowling Radio Interview Revisited

Fifteen years ago during the middle of her Harry Potter fame, J.K. Rowling recorded an interview with BBC Radio 4 for the show Desert Island Discs. BBC Radio 4 has decided to rebroadcast the interview, and it is nothing short of magical hearing a young Jo speaking about her fame during the time of Goblet of Fire’s release. The show asks celebrities which songs they would want to have with them if they were marooned on a desert island.  The songs Rowling chose are:

  • The Beatles – “Come Together”
  • Beethoven – “Apassionata”
  • Jimi Hendrix Experience – “All Along the Watchtower”
  • Marianne Faithful – “Guilt”
  • Mozart – “Requim in D Minor”
  • R.E.M. – “Everybody Hurts”
  • The Smiths – “Bigmouth Strikes Again”
  • Tchaikovsky – “Violin Concerto in D Major”

If she had to pick just one?

It’s got to be the Tschaikovky because of the very strong associations with my daughter — and yes, with my very fertile period [in Portugal].

Rowling also discusses her beginnings of writing Harry Potter in cafes with her daughter at her side, explaining that what the press had to say was

50% true and 50% embroidery.

Jo goes on to state that she was concerned that fans would think Rita Skeeter had to do with her own experiences with the press. She eventually decided that she couldn’t help what people would think and quite enjoyed writing her as a character. Rowling even cut her part from Sorcerer’s Stone to make her seem like more of an intrusive force in Harry’s life when he became even more of a celebrity through the Triwizard Tournament.

On Harry being an orphan, Jo states that children are drawn to a hero or heroine without parents because it allows them to imagine life in which they aren’t preoccupied by thoughts of “keeping someone happy.”

If Rowling were to have books on the deserted island? She would choose the Bible, Shakespeare, and,

for my luxury, unlimited paper and pen, please, because I will be writing, and because I intend to live, a copy of the SAS Survival Guide, please.

Any Potter fan out there should listen to this interview right away, at least within the next 25 days while BBC Radio 4 still has the interview available for listening. It offers an inclusive, innocent look into the life of the author we have all grown to know and love so well, at a time in her life when she still had three more books left to write.

What did you think? Did you love listening to an interview of a younger Jo Rowling? Did you approve of her songs and books she chose to have with her on a deserted island? Let us know in the comments below!