Here's what Rowling wrote yesterday on her website:
The heightened security restrictions on the airlines in August made the journey back from New York interesting, as I refused to be parted from the manuscript of book seven (a large part of it is handwritten, and there was no copy of anything I had done while in the US). They let me take it on, thankfully, bound up in elastic bands. I don't know what I would have done if they hadn't; sailed home, probably.
Over at Galleycat, Sarah writes:
This is just what the Transport Security Association needs - bad publicity because they made a boo-boo with regards to a major bestselling author....
JFK airport staff almost stopped her from boarding a flight because she would not put the manuscript and notes for book seven of the Harry Potter series into her checked luggage.
With all due respect to Sarah, I don't see any story here. Did Rowling actually say she was "almost stopped" from boarding with the manuscript? No. It sounds to me as though Rowling was aware there were new security restrictions in place, so she was worried about not being allowed to carry her manuscript on the plane. Some might take "I refused to be parted from the manuscript" to mean that someone attempted to part her from it, but since she gives no details, I believe the words were a mere figure of speech.
U P D A T E, 11:00 a.m.
A thousand thank-yous to Ron Hogan, who has just updated the GalleyCat post and linked here.
U P D A T E: 12:30 p.m.
This non-story just gets better and better. I can't find a single interview with Ms. Rowling or any public statement apart from what she wrote on her website (which I quoted in full) about this "incident". Yet the blogisphere is buzzing and the facts are being hilariously distorted. Take a look at this bit from PR-Inside.com:
‘Harry Potter’ creator JK Rowling persuaded security staff at a New York airport to let her breach baggage restrictions - because she refused to be parted from the manuscript of the final ‘Potter’ book.
The author was given special treatment on her transatlantic flight - where heightened security measures are still in operation following the recent uncovering of a terrorist plot to blow up planes using explosives carried in hand luggage.
Here's another one, from WhoDigs.com:
British author J.K. Rowling says she won an argument with airport security officials in New York to carry the manuscript of the final "Harry Potter" book as carryon baggage.
Had security agents not relented, she said on her Web site, she might not have flown, she said in a posting dated Wednesday.
I predict that by dinnertime today we'll be reading that the manuscript was ripped from the arms of a screaming Ms. Rowling before she was dragged by the hair into a private room by six wild-eyed (male) TSA agents who proceeded to strip-search her, and only after calls to George Bush and Tony Blair (who vouched for her because they're dying to know who gets killed off in Book Seven) was she allowed to board the plane, weeping as she clutched the precious stack of paper to her chest.
Man, I love the internet.
See my follow-up post here.
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