Australian bookstore refuses to stock JK Rowling’s books


jk rowling australian bookstore rabble books and games
Photos: Supplied/Rabble Books and Games

An Australian bookstore has said it will remove JK Rowling’s books from shelves as a show of support for the transgender community.

The Harry Potter author has faced backlash for much of the year over her transphobic Twitter commentary on gender and trans people’s access to identification and healthcare.

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This week, Rowling faced more criticism after it emerged new novel Troubled Blood features a male serial killer who disguises himself in women’s clothing.

Now Rabble Books and Games in Perth has declared it won’t stock any new books by Rowling. This includes her new crime novels under male pseudonym Robert Galbraith.

“We are always trying to make Rabble a safer space for our community,” owner Nat Latter explained on Facebook.

“Part of that is trying not to put books by transphobes on the shelves, when we know about them.

“Here is where we’re at: we’re not going to stock new JK Rowling books and we won’t be keeping Robert Galbraith books on the shelf anymore.

“Though we don’t sell many, we’re going to phase out the Harry Potter books too. We know that HP means a lot to a lot of people and often you want to share them with youngsters in your life.”

Bookstore donates profits from JK Rowling’s books to charity

Rabble owner Nat Latter said the store will still order Harry Potter books for customers by request.

However the store will donate profits from any sold to local trans and gender diverse support service TransFolk of WA.

“We’re physically a very small shop, and this opens up so much space for awesome books by Jessica Townsend, Jeremy Lachlan, Tamara Moss, Rebecca Lim, Ambelin Kwaymullina and Akwaeke Emezi and other amazing writers with middle grade and young adult fantasy adventure books,” Latter said.

“Whilst stocking a book isn’t an endorsement (good grief, that would be a minefield), and we will always take orders for books that aren’t in stock, there are more worthy books to put on the shelf, books that don’t harm communities and won’t make us sad to unpack them.

“Just a note about [Rowling’s] pseudonym – Robert Galbraith Heath was a psychologist who helped develop conversion therapy. Hard to imagine that’s a coincidence.”

Hey Rabblers, we want to talk about JK Rowling. We are always trying to make Rabble a safer space for our community, and…

Posted by Rabble Books & Games on Monday, September 14, 2020

Rowling denies ‘conversion therapy’ connection

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A spokesperson for JK Rowling told Newsweek she “wasn’t aware of Robert Galbraith Heath when choosing the pseudonym for her crime novels.”

Rowling hasn’t otherwise responded to the Troubled Blood furore.

It began with a viral advance review by the UK’s Telegraph describing the murderous character as a “transvestite serial killer” [sic].

People reacted with fury as excerpts from the review spread, sending Rowling trending on Twitter with the hashtag #RIPJKRowling.

Some who’ve read Troubled Blood claimed that review was misleading. However others say Rowling invokes archaic anti-trans “cross-dressing killer” tropes in the book.

UK trans charity Mermaids criticised Rowling for doing so. The charity said someone presenting as another gender to attack people is “a long-standing and tired trope”.

“It’s responsible for the demonisation of a group of people, simply hoping to live their lives with dignity,” they said.

Previously, the stars of the Harry Potter films weighed in on JK Rowling’s transphobic comments with support for the trans community.

Emma Watson tweeted, “I want my trans followers to know that I and so many other people around the world see you, respect you and love you for who you are.”

Daniel Radcliffe reached out to Harry Potter fans “who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished” in an essay.

“I’m deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you,” he said.

“I really hope that you don’t entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you.”

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.