We've got a booming film and TV industry thanks to these two incredible and inspiring female role models, yet we make it so hard for women to return to work after having a child. Surely it is time for broadcaster and filmmakers to think again?
As she handed it to me she casually said, 'I think it might actually be written by J.K. Rowling under a pseudonym'. The book was called Mountains of the Moon by an author using the pen name I.J. Kay. It was the similarity between this author initials and those of the Harry Potter author that piqued her curiosity.
All that can be stated with any certainty is that Joe Public is currently enjoying the fruits of 70 years of peacetime. He wants for nothing; not food, water, nor easy loving. Sensorially, the totality of his life is catered for with a click of a mouse. Novels are seen as difficult excursions that can only tax unprepared minds.
I could have got off my train at Carlisle, walked right up to that girl and explained all of this to her (leaving out any profanity and the washing up rota) She could have given me a look before running for her life, or she could have married me a few years down the line.
As we have discovered, sometimes we have to look a little further to find those university photos. We look at five famous faces who were once simply known as 'the international student', and consider how these earlier sojourns studying abroad may influenced where they ended up.
We're not in the business of telling people to give up their money, but we do promote the idea that anyone can be a philanthropist. The word philanthropist isn't just defined by the Bill and Melinda Gates of the world.
In short: Fifty Shades of Grey is erotica and thus disqualified from the Bad Sex in Fiction Award 2012 (or indeed in any other year). Phew.
This week saw the release of Book of Spells, the first of Sony's Wonderbook titles. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Dave Ranyard and Masami Kochi to talk about the origins and evolution of Wonderbook and where it might be going next.
This Christmas sees the family space crowded again with Sony, Microsoft and Nintendo each coming to market with strong new ideas - Wonderbook, 2-Way TV and Wii U respectively. I recently had the chance to try out one of these products, Wonderbook, in my own home.
But is J.K. Rowling's new book really a new direction, both politically and in terms of her literary output? On the contrary. There's no wonder that the student protests of 2011 featured many Harry Potter inspired slogans.
"We all have multiple identities," says Tony Parsons when I ask him whether he feels more of an Englishman or a Londoner, "but I certainly feel like I'm both. But I also feel British.
Amidst all the wonderful British quirkiness at the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games, there was a sequence dedicated both to the NHS and children's literature. This might seem like a strange combination, but director Danny Boyle linked them through the Great Ormond Street Hospital, which focuses on children's healthcare.
But many view children's literature as beneath them. If it's not for 'grownups', it's not worthwhile. But, wait, here's a sneaky little problem: what about all the 'grownups' who read and enjoy Rowling's work and other children's books? Shouldn't we explore why these works appeals to adults who are apparently supposed to know better?
Imagine if that first Harry Potter manuscript had fallen into the hands of the wrong reader when it was sent to Bloomsbury - we might never have heard of Harry or J.K and the world of children's literature might be very different today.
When the conversation turns to favourite books, those people around me who like to affect a public disdain for all things Harry Potter always seem to assume I'm one of them, when the truth is I rather like the idea of Harry and Hogwarts (and especially Snape) and I love the fact that so many people seem to truly love the series.
Nobody likes a clown. I say this for a number of reasons, the first of which being the sight of an entire clown outfit in a hedge by the side of the road on the outskirts of the town where I work.