JKR Receives RFK Award in NYC

As announced months ago at her web site, J. K. Rowling received the Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope Human Rights Award last Thursday in NYC. It is an award only given to politically liberal notables and, for Americans, it helps a lot to be a Democratic Party grandee (e.g., Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi also received an award at the event). Two things Rowling said that night are of possible interest to serious readers of her work.

First, she claimed that if her daughter Jessica had been a boy, she would have been named ‘Robert.’ She added that, “lo and behold she has become Mackenzie and I have become a Robert,” i.e., that she took the name ‘Robert Galbraith’ in honor of the late American politician, Robert Kennedy. While she has always claimed that Robert Kennedy was something of a hero to her, this is the first time I can recall her saying her second pseudonym was derived in part from her admiration of the third Kennedy brother. Watch the video clip here.

Second, she said, “He was a man of both empathy and action. He helped bring about real change and he continues to inspire people. I’m not sure we can ask much more of any politician, or indeed, human being.” I’m not sure but I can guess that we can ask a whole lot more of “any politician” — because any politician today who said and did what Bobby Kennedy did with respect to gay people, Jews, and especially to women would be someone loathed by Rowling as “much worse than Voldemort.”

Perhaps when we find out at last how Leda Strike died — was it an actual overdose and accidental death or could it have been a staged suicide to cover the murder of a woman who knew too much about powerful men? — we can re-visit all the conspiracy theories about RFK’s involvement in the seeming suicide of starlet Marilyn Monroe. Is Rowling writing a prolonged wish-fulfillment defense-in-story about her hero’s supposed role in killing Monroe before she talked?

A stretch, I know. The best part of the Rowling comments in NYC Thursday that I can find online was in this bootleg clip from a smart phone. In it, she discusses what it feels like to watch a film celebrating your life and contributions to a better world. “Well done,” indeed.

Let me know in the comment boxes if you’ve found a transcript or video recording of her remarks — and what you think of what pieces of the talk have been made public. Fun to have her back, no? And Happy St Nicholas Day, everyone!



  1. Nick Jeffery says
  2. Nick Jeffery says
  3. David Llewellyn Dodds says

    And a Happy (Julian) St. Nicholas, to you, too! (Julian calendarists here in the Netherlands will have gotten some good deals on St. Nicholas treats still well within their ‘best before…’ dates.) Tangentially, do ‘we’ know if her pseudonymous and potential filial ‘Robert’ choices (may) have multiple debts – e.g., to Robert the Bruce, as well? (Such things have been known to happen…)

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