[He Who Got Killed in Book Six] is Really Dead, JKR Rethinks Title of Book Seven, More from Radio CityJ.K. Rowling
During tonight's RCMH reading, JK Rowling said that Dumbledore is definitely dead, and that we all need to start moving through the five stages of grief. She needs to help us get past denial, she said, and thinks the next stage might be anger and we shouldn't go there right now. She specifically referenced Dumbledoreisnotdead.com, and said that Dumbleore will not "pull a Gandalf."
(The Web site in question has responded that "we don't think this really means anything!" and "Her declaration that Dumbledore is really dead is most likely one of those red-herrings that J.K. likes to throw us off the track with....But what if Dumbledore is really dead, but has arranged it so that he can come back? That would still fit with what she said tonight but still not discount any of what's outlined on this site!") (This has since been changed, but was copied directly at the time.)
J.K. Rowling also said that she had rethought the title of book seven while in the shower before coming out for the event (something like, "Oh, that would be better, wouldn't it?" popped into her mind), but that she wouldn't be sharing either of the titles.
Most of the response about Dumbledore followed a question by famous author Salman Rushdie, who stepped forward to the audience microphone with his son and introduced himself like any other fan. JKR said, "I don't feel this is quite fair," amusedly. "You're better at figuring out plots than most." (That might be a paraphrase.) Rushdie flat-out asked (along with whether Dumbledore was alive) whether Snape was "good" or bad." She did not answer, but said that "your opinion is correct," possibly to his assertion that Snape was intrinsically good (though it was unclear).
Other topics included Aunt Petunia, to whom JKR said there was more than meets the eye (and of course that we'd find out what in book seven). She was also asked which of her characters she would like to take to dinner, and at first immediately named Harry, Ron and Hermione - then when naming a fourth, paused and groaned, and said that the problem with doing such was that she already knew who died (presumably in book six). She went on to name Dumbledore and Hagrid, the latter seeming like an "of course" answer that relieved her from giving something away with the other answers.
She was introduced by Kathy Bates; Tim Robbins introduced Stephen King; Stanley Tucci introduced John Irving. All the authors stuck mostly verbatim to their readings and patter of the night before.