by Alison Flood)
K Rowling will be a guest editor on Woman's Hour later this month, the Harry Potter author has announced. Topics up for discussion will range from the use of pseudonyms in literature – Rowling herself writes thrillers as Robert Galbraith – to "the power and myth of the shoe in popular culture".
Rowling has revealed that she will be the first of five guest editors on the BBC Radio 4 programme's "takeover week", which will run from 28 April to 2 May. Her stewardship of the show will mark "the first time in nearly 60 years of broadcasting that Woman's Hour has ceded the reins to guest editors", according to the Radio Times.
Shoes and pseudonyms aside, Rowling's programme will also feature a discussion on "the issue of orphanages, and why so many children continue to be cared for in institutions worldwide", as well a look at "why Scotland has the highest number of multiple sclerosis sufferers in the world".
Her editing stint will be followed by slots from Kelly Holmes, Naomi Alderman, Doreen Lawrence, and Lauren Laverne.
Rowling also recently announced her support for the Impress project, a campaign to set up a "new kind" of press regulator post-Leveson "which will involve journalists and the public in the future of press regulation" and be "independent press regulation with teeth". The project stems from free-speech campaigner Jonathan Heawood, who wanted an alternative to the Independent Press Standards Organisation, signed up to by 90% of the British press, which he has branded "a short-term solution that's destined to fail".
"Impress gives us an alternative. We don't have the support of those nine men who own 90% of the press. Instead, we're talking to the thousands of people who run the remaining 10%, from national titles through to locals and hyperlocals. We think that you do an important job, and we'd like to find a solution that helps you," wrote Heawood on the National Union of Journalists website. "Because, in the end, journalism depends on a typewriter, the truth, and a decent regulator."
The project, backers of which include Michael Frayn, Terry Gilliam, David Hare, Ian McEwan and Polly Toynbee, is currently looking for funding on Indiegogo. Rowling has pledged to match donations up to £25,000.
On Wednesday, Rowling tweeted to her more than 3 million followers: "If you want truly independent & effective #Leveson press regulation, please support @impressproject."
In November 2011, Rowling told the Leveson inquiry into press standards that photographers had left her feeling under siege. "There were two particularly bad periods when it really was like being under siege or like a hostage, after the birth of my … children. For a week it was impossible to leave the house without being photographed," she said . "The attitude seems to be utterly cavalier. Indifference. 'What does it matter? You're famous. You're asking for it.'"
She later wrote of how she felt "alarmed and dismayed that the prime minister appears to be backing away from assurances he made at the outset of the Leveson inquiry", because "without statutory underpinning Leveson's recommendations will not work: we will be left with yet another voluntary system from which the press can walk away".