Books > JK Rowling

All about the creator of our beloved series—written in March 2012 by Mariam.


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Read’s exclusive interview, with the actress who portrayed Ginny.


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Joanne Rowling was born to Peter Rowling and Anne Volant on July 31st, 1965 in Yate, England, and grew up in the country-side of Gloucestershire. At the young age of five, Jo already took an interest in story-telling, writing a short story about a rabbit called Rabbit, which was never completed. Jo attended secondary school at Wyedean Comprehensive School, and followed her education in the University of Exeter on the south coast on England. Jo graduated in 1983 with a BA in French and Classics and a continued passion for writing.

After university, Jo shifted through several jobs in London, including work as a bilingual researcher for Amnesty International and a secretary for a publishing company, although she admits that a substantial amount of her jobs was spent writing stories. Eventually, Jo and her then-boyfriend decided to move to Manchester. In 1990, on a four-hour-delayed train ride from apartment-hunting in Manchester back to London, J.K. Rowling conceived the idea of a young wizard who came fully formed into her mind as a boy who didn't know of his magical origins - a boy by the name of Harry Potter. However, it wasn't until seven years later that the small idea would become a published novel and the Harry Potter phenomenon would begin. In the same year, Jo's mother passed away from Multiple Sclerosis disease, and Jo subsequently moved to Portugal to teach English at a language institute as a means of evading the sorrow behind her mother's death. Three years later, she returned to Edinburgh with a fresh divorce from a Portuguese television journalist, new-born child Jessica, and a hardened resolve to finish writing Harry's story. Despite the imminent threat of poverty, inadequate public assistance, single motherhood, and the veritable possibility of rejection from publishing companies, Rowling completed her manuscript in 1995, and after being rejected by twelve British publishers, successfully sold her book rights to Bloombsury. The rest, as they say, is history.

Seven books and almost two decades later, Joanne Rowling has become one of the most renowned names in story-telling. Her series have sold well over 400 million copies, become the best-selling book series in the history of literature, created a movie franchise based on the books, as well as garnered a plethora of literary accolades. Additionally, Rowling is the first author to ever win the Nestle's Smarties Books Prize for three consecutive years, the first person to ever become a billionaire solely through writing, and has broken consecutively set book-sale records with her last four books. In 2000, Jo was awarded the Order of the British Empire award by the Queen of England; subsequent years saw the author receive the much-coveted Blue Peter Gold Badge, and France's highest medal, the Legion d'Honneur, for the service that she has rendered to literature. To this date, J.K. Rowling's works have spurred one of the largest fandoms that encompasses character role-playing, a Quidditch league, literary conventions, fan-fiction and much more. In addition, Jo has been noted as a prominent philanthropist, using her monetary success to found the Volant Charitable Trust, which funds various organizations that combat poverty, social inequality and single-parent families. Rowling's charitable works also extend towards the contribution of considerable funds to promote improved health treatment in the United Kingdom, in particular in research relating to multiple sclerosis.

Today, Jo is living with her second husband, Neil Murray, and three children - Jessica, David and Mackenzie - in her home in Edinburgh, where she's currently busy writing her latest novel for adults - to be released by the end of the year - that will undoubtedly be as much of a success as her previous stories.

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