Was 2020 A Bad Year for J. K. Rowling? Nominated for 3 British Book Awards

It is a reasonable conclusion for anyone who follows the news via Twitter and the tabloids that 2020 was a horrible year for J. K. Rowling. She was effectively blacklisted by the cognoscenti for her stand against transgender activist overreach and lost hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers. Harry Potter fandom did its best to demonstrate their group-mind with the Zeitgeist by uniformly condemning her as a “transphobe” and making her ‘She Who Shall Not Be Named’ (or pictured!) at The Leaky Cauldron, MuggleNet, and The Harry Potter Lexicon.

Pretty grim, no?

Yesterday, however, the British Book Awards — known as the ‘Nibbies’ because it used to be the ‘National Book Awards’ and, y’know, ‘nibs’ go with pens, ‘bibs’ with babes — announced their short lists of author-nominees in nine categories for 2020: Audiobooks, Children’s Fiction, Children’s Illustrated and Non-Fiction, Crime and Thriller, Adult Fiction, Fiction (Debut), Non-Fiction (Life-style), Non-Fiction (Narrative), and Pageturner. Rowling in her annus horribilis managed to take in three nominations across these categories. Troubled Blood was nominated for both the ‘Crime and Thriller‘ and the ‘Audiobook’ awards and The Ickabog for ‘Children’s Fiction.’

Rowling is no stranger to the Nibbies, as you’d expect. She was ‘Author of the Year’ in 2000, received two ‘Children’s Fiction’ awards (1998, 1999), one ‘Book of the Year’ (2006), an ‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ in 2007, and most recently a ‘Bestseller Award’ in 2017 for Cursed Child. She was even given a special award last year for Philosopher’s Stone as the Most Important Book of the Last Thirty Years.

She has, in brief, won more ‘Nibbies’ than any other author and the argument could be made that she deserved many more ‘Bestseller Awards’ than she received. I suspect that even today the Harry Potter titles in backlist are outselling even the best selling new releases not written by Rowling-Galbraith.

So how bad was 2020 for Rowling-Galbraith, really?

She lost twitter followers, certainly, and continues to shed them at a rate of a thousand a day — but she hasn’t posted since December and has retained fourteen million followers, the largest author platform and one all but forsaken for prudential reasons, marketing be damned.

Fantastic Beasts despite all the Covid 19 hullaballoo wrapped up filming last week and Cursed Child re-opened in Melbourne. No doubt other theaters will re-open soon around the world in short order.

I suppose being cast out and blacklisted by Harry Potter fandom sites for her heroic stand against the tide of political correctness and in defense of young people being all but forced into irreversible surgeries and ‘transitions’ was a downer. She has written, however, that her inbox has been flooded with e-owls of admiration and gratitude from doctors, health care providers, parents, and transgender people who have been effectively silenced by the online bullies of transgender activism. At least one major publication, too, gave her an award for bravery in writing the truth.

Rowling got her life back by turning away from Twitter, Fantastic Beasts and Cursed Child are on course, and she published two best selling books which were nominated for a record three Nibbies, all against unprecedented and hurricane force gale winds. If this was her worst possible year, a time that any other author would consider a pinnacle of success, she’s doing more than all right.

Congratulations are due to Rowling and her team of helpers for successfully navigating in 2020 the counter currents generated by and the outrage of the Professionally Offended classes. Here’s hoping she wins one or two British Book Awards this year as a rebuke to all the naysayers and nattering nabobs of negativism.


  1. Joanne Gray says

    I was very happy to see and read this newest post of yours that manages to explain in a clear manner the particular madness that swirled around JK Rowling during her nonetheless remarkably creative year of 2020.

    Considering the Madness of 2020 that brought stress and depression to anyone living through it, the fact that JK Rowling managed to produce two wonderful works is amazing. But when it’s revealed that she also had a concerted campaign directed at her daily by online zealot mobs demanding her media presence be erased, it’s actually worthy of everyone’s admiration that she not only weathered the storm but stood unbowed and persevered in continuing her art.

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