Tuesday 10 June 2008

News: Rowling at Harvard

Some topical controversy from Harvard: J. K. Rowling was selected to give this year's Commencement Address to graduating students. The speech, “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination,” can be read (or watched) in its entirety here. But this didn't go down well with some of those graduating (see here), which throws up some interesting questions about cultural value. Complained one senior:
"From the moment we walk through the gates of Harvard Yard, they constantly emphasize that we are the leaders of tomorrow. They should have picked a leader to speak at commencement. Not a children's writer. What does that say to the class of 2008? Are we the joke class?"
Would you be happy to see J. K. Rowling at a UEA Congregation? Which notable figure would you like to see? If you're after some inspiration, the Washington Post lists some of this year's other celebrity graduation appearances.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A "children's writer" is simplistic; apart from anything else, Harry Potter is one of the most popular book series of all time for all age groups, not merely a forgotten children's book. This woman has inspired and uplifted such a huge amount of people, she arguably is a leader of sorts.

The complaints of the senior prove the point of her speech, which is that there are a lot of people who do not see the value of books and writers, the value of imagination.