Here are some facts about J. K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter books.
J. K. Rowling is a pen name. The author’s real name is Joanne Rowling, but she refers to herself as Jo.
She was born on 31st July 1965 in a town called Yate in Gloucestershire, England.
Her mother was called Anne (she was half-French and half-Scottish), and her father was an engineer called Peter.
She has a younger sister called Dianne.
J. K. Rowling went to St Michael’s Primary School in Winterbourne. The school was founded by William Wilberforce.
The character of Albus Dumbledore (the headmaster of Hogwarts) was partly inspired by Alfred Dunn, the headmaster of St Michael’s.
J. K. Rowling started to write stories when she was a young girl. Most of these tales featured rabbits.
As a young teenager, she read all of the books written by Jessica Mitford.
J.K. Rowling didn’t really enjoy her teenage years. She had a difficult relationship with her father, and her mother was often unwell.
Her best friend when she was a teenager was Sean Harris. The character Ron Weasley from the Harry Potter books is partly inspired by Sean.
She enjoyed listening to The Smiths and The Clash.
J. K. Rowling was Head Girl of Wydean School and College, and she got A Levels in English, French and German.
She went on to study French and Classics at the University of Exeter.
She read the works of Charles Dickens and J.R.R. Tolkien when she was a student.
She graduated in 1986 and became a researcher in London for Amnesty International.
In 1990, on a crowded train travelling from Manchester (where she was living at the time) to London, J. K. Rowling got the idea that would become the Harry Potter series. She didn’t have a been to write any of the ideas down, so she forced herself to remember the details. She began to write the story the moment she got home.
J. K. Rowling’s mother died in December 1990. She was still writing the first Harry Potter book at the time.
J. K. Rowling moved to Porto in Portugal. She taught night-school and wrote during the day.
She married Jorge Arantes, a Portuguese journalist, in 1992, and they had a child together (called Jessica) in 1993.
The couple broke up in December 1993, and J. K. Rowling and her daughter moved to Edinburgh in Scotland to be near to her sister.
J. K Rowling was very poor after returning to Britain. She signed up for welfare benefits and focused on finishing the first Harry Potter novel, the only work that meant something to her.
She often wrote in Edinburgh cafes, such as: Nicolson’s Cafe and The Elephant House.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was completed in 1995. Represented by Christopher Little Literary Agents, J. K. Rowling tried to find a publisher. It was rejected by tweleve publishers, before Bloomsbury agreed to put the book out.
Bloomsbury printed 1000 copies of the Philosopher’s Stone in June 1997. These copies were mainly sent to libraries and they are now worth more than £20,000.
Harry Potter and the Philospher’s Stone won the Nestle Smarties Book Prize and the British Book Award for Children’s Book of the Year.
It was published in the US by Scholastic. They changed the name to Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone.
J. K. Rowling was able to buy her own house with the money she earned from the first Harry Potter book. She moved into 19 Hazelbank Terrace in Edinburgh and started to write the next Harry Potter book.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets was published in 1998, and this was followed by Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2005) and finally, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007).
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows sold 11 million copies on the first day of its release.
The entire Harry Potter series is 4195 pages long, and the Harry Potter brand is worth more than $15 billion.
All seven Harry Potter books have been made into movies. Harry was played by Daniel Radcliffe, Hermione by Emma Watson and Ron by Rupert Grint.
In 2001 bought Killiechassie House, near to River Tay in Perth and Kinross (Scotland). She also owns property in Kensington, London.
She married Neil Michael Murray on 26th December 2001. They had a son, David, in 2003, and a daughter, Mackenzie, in 2005.
In 2012, J. K. Rowling published a book for adults called The Casual Vacancy. It has sold more than 1 million copies so far.
In 2013, Rowling published The Cuckoo’s Calling, a crime novel, under the pen-name, Robert Galbraith. The book received lots of good reviews, but sold around 500 copies in hardback. When it was revealed that the book was actually written by J. K. Rowling, sales increased dramatically and Little Brown (the publisher) printed more than 100,000 more copies.
In 2011 the Pottermore website was launched.
J. K. Rowling is well-known for a her contributions to charity. Over the years, she has contributed to Gingerbread (a charity for single parent families), Comic Relief and Lumos to mention just a few.
J. K. Rowling made an appearance in the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympic games in London. She read a passage from Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie.
Jane Austen is J. K. Rowling’s favourite author.
She is good friends with Sarah Brown, wife of former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.