Lifelong advocate of free speech JK Rowling has extended her defence to an unlikely candidate – Donald Trump.
The Harry Potter author was speaking on Monday at PEN America’s annual gala when she mentioned she had opposed a recent petition calling for the Republican presidential nominee to be banned from entering the country.
Despite stating: “I find almost everything Mr Trump says objectionable. I consider him offensive and bigoted,” Rowling insisted such actions endanger everyone’s rights.
Rowling, who received PEN's Literary Service Award for her "extraordinary creativity" and for her efforts on behalf of institutionalised children and other humanitarian causes, added: "But he has my full support to come to my country and be offensive and bigoted there."
She was given her prize by actress Sarah Jessica Parker, a longtime admirer and literacy advocate who praised Rowling for changing the "landscape of children's literature forever and for the better."
The author cited her clashes with censors over her Potter books, which religious groups have accused of inspiring Satanism. She pointed out that her work has appeared on lists of banned books and recalled an unnerving encounter with a Christian fundamentalist in a New York toy shop.
"I had no idea the phrase 'I pray for you' could sound so intimidating," she said.
But Rowling, who has shared sharp opinions about Trump and others on her Twitter feed, also called herself lucky to live in a part of the world where speech is protected and accepted that some would object to her work.
"My critics are at liberty to claim that I am trying to convert children to Satanism," she said. "And I'm free to explain I'm exploring human nature and morality - or to say 'You're an idiot.'"
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