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Reality is penury for children's authors

The Harry Potter series may have made author JK Rowling a multi-millionaire but a third of children's writers earn less than the minimum wage, according to a new survey.

Financial hardship has forced many authors to give up. Gaye Hicyilmaz, whose first novel, Against the Storm, was nominated for the Whitbread Prize in 1990, estimates that she works for the equivalent of 2p an hour and made just Pounds 2,046 profit from writing last year. Mary Hoffman, a member of the Scattered Authors Society, the writers' group that carried out the research, said: "This is not an attack on JK Rowling. We are just saying that a lot of good children's writers are in a difficult position."

More than 120 members of the Society of Authors, describing themselves as children's writers and illustrators, were interviewed for the survey.

Researchers found 42 earned less than the minimum wage - pound;8,827 a year -and some made nothing at all.

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