Over the years, J.K. Rowling has probably inspired hundreds of thousands — if not millions — of young writers. J.K.’s Harry Potter series made the difficult crossover from children’s book to cultural phenomenon, a global impact that has stayed with her nearly a decade after the last of the saga was published.
Because of that, Rowling’s Twitter is thick with questions from young aspiring writers who hope that they can also one day pen the kind of blockbuster novel that she managed to churn out. On Saturday, one such query came from a young Egyptian girl, Hagar El Saeed, who told J.K. that she suffers a lack of support from her community when it comes to achieving her dream: becoming a writer.
@jk_rowling You inspired me to write. However, in Egypt, girls can’t do anything freely as boys. They laugh at me when I say I am a writer.
— Preliator. (@Hagar_ElSaeed) August 15, 2015
Rowling, often outspoken on social media, responded to Hagar’s message with a heartfelt boost of encouragement.
Don’t you dare let their laughter extinguish your ambition. Turn it into fuel! Big hugs from one writer to another x https://t.co/w3lYXAosJj — J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) August 15, 2015
Staying consistent with her message, J.K. also responded Saturday to another fan who posed a similar question about disapproval from his family about his goal to write for a living like Rowling.
@jk_rowling My dream is to be a writer, but my parents always say that this is not a worthy profession, what I do to change this?
— t (@potterimortal) August 15, 2015
J.K. responded with advice similar to what she had said to El Saeed, but this time more specifically talking about how to seek your goals without worrying those around you.
Of course, J.K. Rowling’s advice doesn’t manage to solve the problem that young women like Hagar face in Egypt when it comes to entering a male-dominated workforce. In 2014, the International Labour Office found that Egyptian women were more than five times as likely to be unemployed as their male peers, and a whopping 49 percent of them are neither employed or in training for more skilled jobs. Among those with some education, women with some kind of secondary-level training have the highest levels of unemployment at 76 percent — that’s compared with a high of 23 percent employment for males across any level of education.
[Image via Julian Finney/Getty Images]