Opened in 1995, The Elephant House was said to be made famous as the place of inspiration to writers such as J.K. Rowling. On my first visit to Edinburgh I couldn’t resist. I was lucky to just happen to walk into the cafe where J.K. Rowling wrote her first Harry Potter book. I had no idea she wrote it in Edinburgh. It was a delightful surprise.
I must admit that J.K. Rowling is a bit of a hero to me. She has been and always will be a source of inspiration. Her agent, as you can see in the video, advised against her writing children’s book due to it not being seen as a profitable path in the past. She also says at the start of the interview that she’s been working on the books for seven years. That’s a long time, to do anything, consistently, but it paid off for her and fans of her work, big time. I have so much admiration for someone who dreams big, works hard, stays humble and gives back. As an aspiring writer that dreams to make a living writing and as a former English teacher myself, I can relate. Recently, she has been known to make her voice heard around the world about many controversial topics in support of various causes.
So I walked inside the lovely cafe and asked if I could be seated in the back room overlooking Edinburgh Castle where she sat writing much of her early novels. With pen in hand and notebook on the table I began to write, not even hiding the grin on my face. At the end of the day, I had to tear myself away from the place, and was even almost tempted to buy an Elephant Castle t-shirt from the cafe to commemorate the experience.
Ian Rankin, author of the bestselling Rebus novels, and Alexander McCall-Smith, author of The No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency and other series of novels, have also frequented The Elephant House, as well as many others throughout the years. I’m proud to be among them.