J.K. Rowling Brings the Magic of Reading to the World
It would be rare to find someone who doesn't recognize the name J.K. Rowling. The author of the incredibly popular Harry Potter series has taken millions of readers on fantastical journeys to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Rowling wasn't always a famous author, though Harry Potter was on her mind well before he was on the page.
Joanne Kathleen Rowling was born in Gloucestershire, England on July 31, 1965. She has one sister, Dianne, who was born in 1967. Her family moved several times when she was growing up. One of her neighbors had the last name "Potter" which she liked and remembered.
She has always enjoyed writing, even as a child. She remembers writing stories and reading them to her sister. In fact, Rowling, as a young girl, was much like Hermione as she was very studious and loved to read and write.
Ms. Rowling attended Exeter University, where her parents hoped she would gain the skills to be a bilingual secretary. Unfortunately, she didn't take to secretarial work and was more prone to writing story notes than paying attention during meetings.
When she was 26 years old, Rowling decided to move to Portugal to teach English. During her years there, she began working on her story ideas about a wizarding world. She met and married a journalist and had one daughter, Jessica, who was born in 1993. The marriage ended shortly thereafter and Rowling and her daughter moved to Scotland to be near Dianne.
In Scotland, J.K. Rowling spent countless hours writing her Harry Potter novel. She wrote wherever and whenever she could. At the same time, she was taking classes so that she could teach in Scotland. The Scottish Arts Council gave her a grant so that she could finish her book.
Getting a book published is very difficult. Many publishers rejected Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone until finally Bloomsbury in the UK paid her about $4000 for it. This wasn't very much, so Rowling worked as a French teacher to support herself and her daughter. When the book was finally released in June 1997, she began receiving recognition as a serious author.
Scholastic, in the US, renamed the book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and released it in September of 1998. Over the next several years, she penned the sequels for a total of seven bestselling books. The books have set numerous records for fast sales and have been translated into 65 languages. There have been over 325 million copies of Harry Potter books sold since 1997.
Rowling remarried in 2001 and has received honorary degrees from several universities in the UK and the US. She continues to live in Scotland with her husband and daughter.
Now quite wealthy, Rowling works with several charities to support single-parent families, multiple sclerosis, dyslexia action, and more. It is unclear whether she will write more books, though she has said that she does not intend to revisit the world of Harry Potter again.