Earlier this year, the Evening News assembled a panel of eminent experts to compile a list of Edinburgh’s greatest ever sons and daughters. At number nine, ahead of such luminaries as Sir Walter Scott, David Hume and Adam Smith, they chose JK Rowling.
Joanne Rowling has taken Edinburgh to her heart, making the city her adopted home. But we have taken her to ours even more – and so has the rest of the world.
The staggering 450 million copies that her Harry Potter books have sold around the world are only part of the story. Her books made reading cool again for millions of children and the critical acclaim that she has received writing under a nom de plume shows she is far from a one trick pony.
It speaks volumes for her that she is not a billionaire today despite her writing earning her more than £1m every single day – simply because she gives so much to charity.
The opening of the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic at Edinburgh University, thanks to a £10m donation from the author, is just the latest chapter in her charitable giving. She has been a supporter of organisations linked to poverty, children’s welfare and illiteracy, as well multiple sclerosis, the condition that claimed her mother at the age of 45.
Scientists at the new centre will carry out world-leading research into ways of slowing the progression of MS. They will also expand our understanding of other neurological conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and motor neurone disease, and develop potential new treatments. Their work will help thousands of people in the future.
Perhaps it is because she has lived through tough times that she gives so generously. There are certainly plenty of rich people who are happy to sit on piles of cash, but she likes to do things differently.
Smart, creative, hard-working and generous, she is a great role model for our children. We should all be extremely proud of her.