Happy Birthday to Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, born today in 1965
Joanne “Jo” Rowling (born July 31, 1965), is a British novelist, screenwriter and film producer best known as the author of the Harry Potter fantasy series.
- Under the pen names J. K. Rowling and Robert Galbraith, her books have gained worldwide attention, won multiple awards, and sold more than 400 million copies.
- They have become the best-selling book series in history, and been the basis for a series of films over which Rowling had overall approval on the scripts, and maintained creative control by serving as a producer on the final installment.
- She is the United Kingdom’s best-selling living author, with sales in excess of £238M.
Born in Yate, Gloucestershire, England, Rowling was working as a researcher and bilingual secretary for Amnesty International when she conceived the idea for the Harry Potter series while on a delayed train from Manchester to London in 1990.
- The seven-year period that followed saw the death of her mother, birth of her first child, divorce from her first husband and relative poverty until she finished the first novel in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, in 1997.
- There were six sequels, the last, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, in 2007.
- Since then, Rowling has written four books for adult readers: The Casual Vacancy (2012) and—under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith—the crime fiction novels The Cuckoo’s Calling (2013), The Silkworm (2014) and Career of Evil (2015).
Rowling has lived a “rags to riches” life story, in which she progressed from living on state benefits to multi-millionaire status within five years.
- The 2016 Sunday Times Rich List estimated Rowling’s fortune at £600 million, ranking her as the joint 197th richest person in the UK.
- Time magazine named her as a runner-up for its 2007 Person of the Year, noting the social, moral, and political inspiration she has given her fans.
- In October 2010, Rowling was named the “Most Influential Woman in Britain” by leading magazine editors.
- She has supported charities including Comic Relief, One Parent Families, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain and Lumos (formerly the Children’s High Level Group).