J.K. Rowling's Harvard Commencement Speech

Is it lame to still geek out whenever J.K. Rowling makes a public appearance? It probably is but, no matter, we’re going to update you about her Harvard Commencement speech anyway. She was the university’s fifth female Commencement speaker since 1950. At the June 5 ceremony talked about her greatest challenges and achievements: failure and imagination. Aw!

You might think that I chose my second theme, the importance of imagination, because of the part it played in rebuilding my life, but that is not wholly so. Though I will defend the value of bedtime stories to my last gasp, I have learned to value imagination in a much broader sense. Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathise with humans whose experiences we have never shared.

Video and full text of her speech is available at Harvard Magazine’s site.