"Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling has spoken for the first time about a set of handwritten fairy tales linked to the famous boy wizard book series.
The new work, titled "The Tales of Beedle the Bard," was referred to in passing in Rowling's last book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows." Headmaster of Hogwarts school Albus Dumbledore gave the tales to Harry's friend Hermione.
Rowling has produced seven copies of the tales, all handwritten with her own illustrations. They will not be published.
All copies have all been given away by the author, except for one which will be auctioned at Sotheby's in London. The starting price will be $60,000.
The money raised will go to the Children's Voice Foundation, a charity that works with child victims of neglect and abuse in Eastern Europe.
In an exclusive interview with the BBC's Razia Iqbal, Rowling revealed that the books were "a wonderful way of saying goodbye" to the "Harry Potter" world.
"People kept saying to me, 'You'll be glad to have a break from writing,' when of course I wasn't taking a break at all," Rowling told the BBC.
Here are some excerpts from J.K. Rowling's BBC interview:
J.K. Rowling: Six of these books have been given to those most closely connected to the "Harry Potter" books during the past 17 years. This seventh book will be auctioned -- proceeds to help institutionalized children.
Question: This is particularly exciting I suppose because it comes so soon after the last book and so this is what J.K. Rowling is doing next isn't it?
J.K. Rowling: Well it's what I've done next, yes, so people kept saying to me, 'Oh you'll be glad that you're having a break from writing,' of course I wasn't having a break at all, I was literally writing out, because these are handwritten books, these new stories, which has been a wonderful way to say goodbye actually. It's been great to, it's like coming up from a deep dive I suppose. I've been writing about the world, about Harry, Ron and Hermione, but it comes from that world. It's been partly, I didn't expect it to be, but it's been therapeutic in a way -- a nice way to say goodbye.
I think it was the powerlessness. I think that I've got a real terror of being powerless and I could not think of any person with less of a voice, more disenfranchised, than a child with mental health issues or mental illness or mentally handicapped who has been taken from their family or given by their family to a mental institution and then placed in a cage. I couldn't think of anyone more vulnerable and anyone more in need of an articulate voice.
Question: You are incredibly wealthy and I wanted to ask you about the connection between that wealth and your social conscience. Have you always had a very strong social conscience?
J.K. Rowling: I would say yes. There was this curious disassociation in my mind between the work I've done and the money I'd got. The reward seemed, when it came, so enormous. It was quite scary in a way, and large amounts of money, though no one should ever, ever complain about having them and I don't complain, I think they do bring a certain amount of responsibility if you're any kind of human being, then once you've filled your needs and your family's needs, then I think that if you're any kind of human being you're going to think, OK, well how do I do some good with this and I think that most people in my position would do that.
Question: You've just come back from a tour in the States, where you made the news in all kinds of ways, not least because you revealed that Dumbledore is gay. Had you always seen him as gay in your mind?
J.K. Rowling: Yes -- always. No one ever asked me has he ever been in loved or fallen in love? People were very focused on what happens to Harry, so I've never been asked the direct question and because I've never been asked the direct question and because to answer it would immediately flag up an infatuation that happens in book seven, I've never said it. If I'd been asked though, I would have, of course.