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J.K. Rowling Criticises Both Sides Of EU Debate For "Ugly" Campaigns

"I'm not an expert on much, but I do know how to create a monster."

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The Harry Potter author had previously resisted getting involved in the scrum surrounding discussion about whether or not the UK should choose to leave the EU.

However, in an essay published on Monday, Rowling strongly attacked those heading the Remain and Leave campaigns, writing that they "have not been afraid to conjure monsters calculated to stir up our deepest fears".

"I'm not an expert on much, but I do know how to create a monster," was her opening line.

In a scathing attack, she suggested the only people enjoying the debate would be those "hoping for greater personal power at the end of it". She said the Leave campaign has depicted the EU, a union "born out of a collective desire never to see another war in Europe", as a "villainous" and "Orwellian monolith, Big Brotheresque in its desire for control".

Meanwhile, "Remainers," Rowling said, "have mostly countered, not with an optimistic vision of the union, but with bleak facts: money is pouring out of the country at the prospect of the Brexit and experts in every field think that leaving the EU will be a catastrophic mistake."

She added: "The tales we have been told during this referendum have been uglier than any I can remember in my lifetime."

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Rowling also drew attention to a poster unveiled last week by UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

Daniel Leal-olivas / AFP / Getty Images

And while the author pointed out that not all of those voting to leave the EU are "racists and bigots", she said it would be "equally nonsensical to pretend that racists and bigots aren't flocking to the 'Leave' cause, or that they aren't, in some instances, directing it".

The poster has been widely criticised across the political spectrum. Leave campaigner Michael Gove said he "shuddered" when he first saw it.

.@Nigel_Farage's despicable 'Breaking Point' #Brexit poster has smacks of this....

Rowling, who described the Leave vote as "a simple howl of frustration" against the modern world, urged people not to fall for the "monsters" conjured up during the debate.

The author, who studied French and German at university, and who has French roots through her mother, admitted the EU was not perfect.

But, she said, "how can a retreat into selfish and insecure individualism be the right response when Europe faces genuine threats, when the bonds that tie us are so powerful, when we have come so far together?

"How can we hope to conquer the enormous challenges of terrorism and climate change without cooperation and collaboration?"

During Scotland's referendum on whether to leave the UK, Rowling came out strongly for the No camp, drawing intense criticism for her support of the campaign, especially after it emerged she had donated £1 million to it.

Rose Troup Buchanan is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

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