JK Rowling's rare outing to celebs' favourite haunt

From cancel culture to cafe culture for JK Rowling: Author’s rare outing to celebs’ favourite haunt – a year after being targeted by Twitter trolls in ‘transphobia’ storm

  • JK Rowling was spotted in a rare public sighting at London’s trendy River Cafe
  • She already gave the celebrity haunt a glowing write-up in book The Silkworm
  • The writer has kept a low profile since a Twitter row over ‘transphobia’ last year
  • But Rowling and her husband Dr Neil Murray joined a friend at the restaurant

She’s already given London’s trendy River Cafe a sparkling write-up in one of her bestsellers – surely worth more than a thousand glowing TripAdvisor reviews.

And in a rare public sighting, Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling was last week seen at the celebrity haunt that played such a key part in her Cormoran Strike detective novel The Silkworm.

The writer has kept a relatively low profile since finding herself at the centre of a Twitter storm over ‘transphobia’ last year. 

But the 56-year-old and her husband Dr Neil Murray put that behind them when they joined a female friend at the stylish restaurant.

In a rare public sighting, Harry Potter author J. K. Rowling (pictured) was seen at London’s River Cafe, a haunt that played such a key part in her Cormoran Strike novel The Silkworm

An onlooker said: ‘J. K. was talking to her friend and looked like she was in a thinking mode.’

In The Silkworm, written under the pen name Robert Galbraith, Rowling said ‘this wonderful restaurant by the river’ was ‘subsumed in light, warmth and noise’ as she wrote of its open kitchen and wood-burning oven with the Thames ‘glinting darkly’ nearby

It was where Strike celebrated a birthday and where novelist Owen Quine clashed with a literary agent before his disappearance.

Mother-of-three Ms Rowling, who will celebrate her 20th wedding anniversary with Dr Murray in December, wore a black blazer, black boots and chiffon skirt for her lunch date at the restaurant, owned by chef Ruth Rogers, wife of architect Baron Richard Rogers.

Last summer, Rowling was targeted by trolls who labelled her transphobic when she commented about an article that referenced ‘people who menstruate’. 

Writing on Twitter, she said: ‘I’m sure there used to be a word for those people. Someone help me out. Wumben? Wimpund? Woomud?’

The writer has kept a low profile since a Twitter storm over ‘transphobia’. But she and her husband Dr Neil Murray put that behind them when they joined a female friend at the venue

She then explained why she believed biological sex was important, adding: ‘I know and love trans people but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives. It isn’t hate to speak the truth.’ 

It prompted a furious backlash, to which she responded with a 3,600-word essay, describing her experience of domestic abuse and sexual assault. 

She also joined 150 public figures, including Sir Salman Rushdie and Margaret Atwood, to denounce so-called ‘cancel culture’ and warn of an ‘intolerant climate’ for free speech.

Rowling’s Strike novels have been adapted into a hit BBC drama series starring Tom Burke as the titular detective.

But in the adaptation of The Silkworm, a Thai Square restaurant in Putney doubled as the River Cafe, which is two miles away in Hammersmith.

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