J.K. Rowling


Born: July 31, 1965 in Yate, South Gloucestershire, England
Nationality: British
Famous For: Harry Potter series
Awards: British Book of the Year, winner for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (2006), Hugo Award for Best Novel, winner Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2001), National Book Awards Children’s Book of the Year, winner Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1999)

Joanne Rowling, popularly known as J.K. Rowling, was born in 1965 in Gloucestershire, England. The second name, Kathleen, was adopted by Joanne for her writer’s name, J.K. Rowling. It was a tribute to her grandmother, Kathleen, who died when Joanne was nine years old. Her father, Peter Rowling, worked as a manager of an aircraft company and her mother, Ann, worked as a lab technician.

J.K.’s Early Years

After the birth of her younger sister, Diane, on June 28, 1967, the Rowling family moved to Winterbourne, a nearby village. Although the two sisters frequently fought, they were extremely close. Joanne told imaginative stories to her sister.

When Joanne Rowling was nine years old, the family moved to the country village in Tutshil in Wales in 1974. Joanne attended a few grade schools and then went on to attend Wyedean Comprehensive School in Chepstow, England. During her school days, Joanne was a shy, introverted child. She dedicated herself to her studies and to her love for literature.

Education and Career

Rowling studied French at the University of Exeter and, after completing her studies, she worked for Amnesty International in London as a bilingual secretary. Rowling’s mother died in 1990, shortly after she started writing her first Harry Potter novel. Her death was a huge blow to Joanne, and it greatly influenced the direction of the story about the young wizard and the loss of his parents.

Rowling’s Personal Life

In 1991, Joanne Rowling moved to Portugal to work as an English teacher at a language institute. She married a Portuguese journalist, but the marriage was rocky. In December 1993, Joanne returned to Britain with her daughter.

Before the idea of Harry Potter struck Rowling’s mind, she was involved in several different jobs and had to struggle quite a bit. Amongst her favorites was the job with Amnesty International. After her marriage, she briefly worked as English teacher in Portugal. But her marriage turning sour saw her moving back to England with her infant daughter.

She was also working as a teacher while she continued her to work on her idea of Harry Potter. She was in a financially bad position and was struggling to meet her ends. She had to work as a teacher to ensure that she could sustain with her young daughter. Her first book was published in 1996 by Bloomsbury and after 1000 books were published, she got a grant from Scottish Art Council. Following this, Rowling received an attractive offer from Scholastic to give publishing rights for the book in the US. The influx of this money financially helped Rowling to focus on her writing career.

Rowling’s Career as an Author

J.K. Rowling’s literary career revolved around her wildly successful Harry Potter series. However, very few know that this was not the first story that she wrote. Rowling was writing stories since the age of six and she wrote many unfinished novels before she came across an idea as convincing as Harry Potter. However, even Harry Potter was not an instant hit amongst publishers and it was rejected by many before Bloomsbury made an offer to Rowling to print the book in 1996.

The success of the Harry Potter books kept the fans wanting more. Rowling wrote seven books in the series and her books have been translated into more than 60 languages. As of 2013, nearly 500 million Harry Potter books have been sold and eight movies have been made from the Harry Potter series. All this has made J.K. Rowling quite wealthy and a writer who has revolutionized the world of literature.