New Zealand Book Festival Cancels Harry Potter Event Because JK Rowling Is a TERF

New Zealand Book Festival Cancels Harry Potter Event Because JK Rowling Is a TERF

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Featherston Booktown Karukatea Festival 2021, a New Zealand book festival, has canceled its very popular Harry Potter quiz event over JK Rowling’s transphobia.

The festival is being held from May 6–9 and boasts a number of interesting book-related events like “Journeys to Publication,” “Books and Reading in the Age of the Podcast,” “A Demonstration of Letter Press Printing with Cheryl Gallaway” and workshops on bookbinding, poetry and printing. This is the sixth annual occurrence of this New Zealand book festival, and it’s clear the people of Featherston greatly value it, as it brings their community together. It is just as clear they want to ensure their community is an inclusive and welcoming one for all people.

Peter Biggs, chairman of the Festival board, consulted with various members of the LGBTQ community, as well as those in the literary sector, before deciding whether to include the Harry Potter quiz in the lineup of events.

He said: “The overwhelming response was there was a risk around causing distress to particular members of the community and that was the last thing we wanted to do. We always thought Booktown should be an inclusive, welcoming place for everyone.”

Likewise, Tabby Besley​ of Inside Out (a national organization supporting LGBTQ+ youth in their communities and schools) had this to say: “I think it’s a strong decision that shows they’re really trying to be an inclusive community and support their rainbow and transgender young people.”

Photo: Featherston Booktown

Harry Potter author JK Rowling has made no secret of her gross and bigoted views on the transgender community.

RELATED | Here Are All the ‘Harry Potter’ Stars Who Have Responded to JK Rowling’s Transphobia

Interestingly enough, one of the featured panels at the New Zealand book festival revolves around the concept of “cancel culture.” One local resident believes the organizers “might be trying to capitalize on the current fad of cancel culture.” This resident also admitted to Stuff (New Zealand’s largest news website) that she shared some of Rowling’s views, and did not believe they were transphobic.

“Cancel culture” is a relatively new buzz-phrase, yet it seems to often be convoluted with “facing consequences for poor actions,” which is actually an age-old concept. With a plethora of great fantasy stories for kids and adults alike, it’s easy to choose those which don’t benefit or promote a virulent transphobe like JK Rowling.

What are your thoughts on this New Zealand book festival changing its programming due to JK Rowling’s transphobia?

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