J.K. Rowling is the famous British author of the worldwide attention gaining Harry Potter series. Her best-selling novels have sold more than 400 million copies and won numerous awards. The books have also been adapted to screen in a series of blockbuster films. Ranked as the twelfth richest woman in the United Kingdom in 2008 with a net worth of US$1 billion, Rowling has risen from rags to riches. Harry Potter upgraded the status of this woman from living on welfare to being a multimillionaire in a short period of just 5 years. Titled the Most Influential Woman in Britain in 2010 by leading magazine editors, J.K Rowling and Harry Potter have become household names globally.
Joanne Kathleen Rowling, daughter of Peter James Rowling and Anne Rowling was born on 31 July 1965 in Yate, Gloucestershire, England. She is the elder sister of Dianne Rowling who was born 23 month after Jo. Rowling was fond of writing stories since a very young age; she read her short imaginative stories to her sister, Di. Rowling went to the Wyedean School and College after which she attended the University of Exter where she obtained a BA degree in French and Classics. Rowling then worked at Amnesty International in London as a researcher and bilingual secretary.
Rowling conceived the idea of Harry Potter in 1990 while she waited on a 4 hour delayed train trip from Manchester to London. Her mind was suddenly flooded with ideas about a boy who attended wizardry school. She did not have a pen at that time so she kept thinking about it and immediately sat down to write as soon as she reached her flat in Clapham Junction.
Rowling wrote Harry Potter through difficult times of poverty and depression surviving on welfare with her daughter whom she had from a brief marriage in Portugal. She now settled in Edinburg near her sister. The first book of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, which was renamed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone for the U.S. edition was published in Britain in June, 1997. The book was a big hit not only among children but also adults.
For Rowling, there was no looking back and she published a series of 7 Harry Potter books. In July, 1998, a sequel was published, titled, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. The third book in the series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, was published in December, 1999.With a simultaneous release in UK and USA, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was published on July 8, 2000. This particular novel broke all sales records selling 372,775 copies on the first day of its release in UK and 3 million copies in the first 48 hours in the USA. Although Rowling denied rumors of a writer’s block, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, fifth book the series was released three years later followed by Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in July, 2005. The seventh and so far last Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released in July 2007.
Rowling has been accredited by many prestigious awards and also praised for generating an interest in reading amongst young people at a time when they were discarding this valuable hobby. Rowling lives in England with her husband, Dr. Neil Murray and 3 children.