JK Rowling to donate damages and royalties from crime novel to charity

ABF The Soldiers' Charity expects to receive a 'hefty' sum after the author won a legal action against her law firm

JK Rowling
JK Rowling

ABF The Soldiers’ Charity is expecting to receive a six-figure sum in damages and "quite a lot more" in royalties from the Harry Potter author JK Rowling after her law firm revealed she had written a crime novel under a pseudonym.

The author said she would be donating all global royalties from her first crime novel, The Cuckoo’s Calling, published under the pen name Robert Galbraith, to the charity.

The book has shot up the bestsellers list since Rowling was exposed as its author on 14 July.

ABF will receive all global net royalties, which would otherwise have been paid to the author from book sales, for three years starting from the date the author’s true identity was revealed. 

Russells Solicitors, the law firm responsible for the leak of her name, apologised and agreed to pay the author’s legal fees and make a payment by way of damages to the charity after Rowling brought a legal action, which concluded yesterday.

A spokesman for the charity, which supports soldiers, former soldiers and their families through financial grants to individuals and specialist charities that support the armed forces, said it had not been told how much the damages were worth. 

"Suffice to say, the royalties are not going to be insignificant – given her track record, they will be fairly hefty," he said. "I would probably say six figures for the damages and quite a lot more for the royalties."

In a statement published on the charity’s website, Rowling said: "This donation is being made to the Soldiers’ Charity partly as a thank-you to the army people who helped me with research, but also because writing a hero who is a veteran has given me an even greater appreciation and understanding of exactly how much this charity does for ex-servicemen and their families, and how much that support is needed.  

"I always intended to give the charity a donation out of Robert’s royalties, but I had not anticipated him making the bestseller list a mere three months after publication – indeed, I had not counted on him ever being there!"  

Major General Martin Rutledge, chief executive of the charity, said: "We are absolutely thrilled by the extraordinary generosity of JK Rowling. This donation will make a huge difference to the lives of thousands of soldiers, former soldiers and their families who are in real need.

"Her tremendous show of support for the charity will help to remind people of the many sacrifices made by our soldiers, long after any news of Afghanistan has left the front pages."

Jenna Pudelek

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