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Law firm makes donation after revealing JK Rowling's identity

Author J.K. Rowling poses for a portrait while publicizing her adult fiction book "The Casual Vacancy" at Lincoln Center in New York October
Author J.K. Rowling poses for a portrait while publicizing her adult fiction book "The Casual Vacancy" at Lincoln Center in New York October

By Costas Pitas

LONDON (Reuters) - Harry Potter creator JK Rowling accepted a substantial charity donation from the London-based law firm which revealed she had written a detective novel under a pseudonym, a British court heard on Wednesday.

Rowling brought legal action against a partner at Russells law firm and his friend after her identity as author of "The Cuckoo's Calling" was disclosed in mid-July. Rowling wrote the crime fiction book under the pen name Robert Galbraith.

Russells will hand over an undisclosed sum to ABF The Soldiers' Charity, chosen by Rowling. The firm has already apologized "unreservedly" for the disclosure by partner Chris Gossage to his wife's best friend Judith Callegari.

The donation follows a series of anonymous postings on social media network Twitter earlier in July which revealed that the "debut" novel was actually written by the world's first billionaire author.

Intended to be a closely guarded secret, known only to a handful of close confidantes, Rowling's identity was revealed by a Twitter user who turned out to be Callegari.

Splashed on the front page of Britain's Sunday Times newspaper, Rowling admitted she was Galbraith and sales of the detective novel took off. But two weeks on, her unhappiness remained clear.

"The claimant was angry and distressed that her confidences had been betrayed and this was very much aggravated by repeated speculation that the leak had ... been a carefully co-ordinated publicity stunt," court documents said on Wednesday.

Rowling will also donate publishing royalties from "The Cuckoo's Calling" for the next three years to ABF The Soldiers' Charity, she said in a statement on the charity's website.

"The Cuckoo's Calling" follows war veteran turned private eye Cormoran Strike's investigations into the death of a model.

It had sold some 1,500 hardback copies before Rowling's name was revealed. It then soared to the top of online retailer Amazon.co.uk's bestseller list. It is currently at number two. Publisher Little, Brown, said it was reprinting the tale.

(Reporting By Costas Pitas, editing by Paul Casciato)

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