JK Rowling is a British author, film producer, television producer, screenwriter, and philanthropist. She is best known for writing the Harry Potter fantasy series, which has won multiple awards and sold more than 500 million copies.
JK Rowling Early Life
- Joanne Rowling was born on 31 July 1965 in Yate, Gloucestershire. She was the daughter of science technician Anne and Rolls-Royce aircraft engineer Peter James Rowling.
- Two years after Rowling was born, her mother gave birth to a sister, called Diana.
- Rowling first began making up stories in order to keep her younger sibling entertained. Rowling attended school at nearby St. Michael’s village school.
- Quiet and studious, she did well at school, and went on to graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in French and Classics at the University of Exeter.
- When her mother’s diagnosis with multiple sclerosis, she developed a strained relationship with her father, with whom she is not on speaking terms.
JK Rowling Harry Potter
- After graduating, she started working as a researcher and bilingual secretary in London for Amnesty International.
- Her attention would wander during meetings as ideas for stories would come to her while she was meant to be taking dictation.
- In 1990, while she was on a four-hour-delayed train trip from Manchester to London, the idea for a story of a young boy attending a school of wizardry “came fully formed” into her mind.
- In December, Rowling’s mother, Anne, died after ten years of suffering from multiple sclerosis.
- JK Rowling was writing Harry Potter at the time and had never told her mother about it.
- Shortly afterwards, she decided to retrain as an English teacher, and moved to Portugal, where she met and married a native journalist, called Jorge Arantes, in 1992.
- She gave birth to their daughter, Jessica Isabel, on 27 July the following year. Sadly, their marriage ended quickly, and the couple separated only four short months later.
JK Rowling Struggling Writer
- A year later, Rowling moved back to Britain, and went to live in Edinburgh, Scotland. Life as a single mother living on social security in the bleak Scottish winter was dismal.
- However, like all true writers, she channeled her worst experiences to creative ends, and used her experience of depression as the basis for the happiness-sucking wraiths in the Harry Potter books, the Dementors.
- Her daily routine included lots of long walks in order to get her baby daughter to fall asleep, and she would often end up in a cafe.
- Seven years after graduating from university, JK Rowling saw herself as a failure. Her marriage had failed, and she was jobless with a dependent child.
- During this period, Doctor diagnosed Rowling with clinical depression and contemplated suicide. Her illness inspired the characters known as Dementors, soul-sucking creatures introduced in the third book.
- In 1995, JK Rowling finished her manuscript for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone which was typed on an old manual typewriter.
- The she submitted her book to twelve publishing houses, all of which rejected the manuscript. Bloomsbury, a publishing house in London finally gave the green light (and a £1,500 advance) a year later.
JK Rowling Success
- In June 1997, Bloomsbury published Philosopher’s Stone with an initial print run of 1,000 copies, 500 of which were distributed to libraries.
- As her books gained more exposure, Rowling’s talent and ability as a children’s writer was soon recognized.
- One of the first awards she won was the much-coveted Nestle Smarties award. Later she went on to win the award three consecutive times.
- A grant of £8,000 from the Scottish Arts Council enabled her to carry on writing full-time. Fortunately within a relatively short time, she had sold enough books to guarantee her financial security.
- In 1998, one short year after her first book had seen print, she sold the film rights for her first two books to Warner Brothers, for an undisclosed seven-figure sum, making her a millionaire overnight.
- When she published her fourth book, ‘Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire’, the book broke all previous publishing records.
- On 26 December 2001, JK Rowling married Neil Murray (born 30 June 1971), a Scottish doctor. She married him in a private ceremony at her home, Killiechassie House in Scotland. Their son, David Gordon Rowling Murray, was born on 24 March 2003.
- Publisher sold over 372,000 copies in the UK on the first day. They sold over three million copies in the United States within the first 48 hours.
JK Rowling Awards
- The award committee named Rowling Author of The Year at the British Book Awards in 2000.
- Harry Potter is now a global brand worth an estimated $15 billion. The last four Harry Potter books have consecutively set records as the fastest-selling books in history. The publisher translated the series into 65 languages.
- The 2016 Sunday Times Rich List estimated Rowling’s fortune at £600 million, ranking her as the joint 197th richest person in the UK.
- Time named her a runner-up for its 2007 Person of the Year, noting the social, moral, and political inspiration she has given her fans.
- In October 2010, leading magazine editors named Rowling “Most Influential Woman in Britain”.
- She has supported multiple charities, including Comic Relief, One Parent Families, and Multiple Sclerosis Society. She also launched her own charity, Lumos.