J.K. Rowling (born 31.7.1965)
J.K. Rowling is the British author responsible for the popular Harry Potter series. Although originally intended for children, the books have also been incredibly popular with adults across the world.
J.K. Rowling: Childhood & Early Career
J.K. Rowling was born to Peter and Anne Rowling in Gloucestershire. She has a younger sister, Dianne. As a child, Rowling attended St. Michael's Primary School in Winterbourne. It is claimed that her headmaster, Alfred Dunn, was the inspiration behind the Harry Potter character Albus Dumbledore.
Rowling then attended Wyedean School and College. Her best friend at the time, Sean Harris, is said to be the person upon whom Ron Weasley is based.
She then went on to study French and Classics at the University of Exeter. When she had graduated, she moved to London and worked as a bilingual secretary and researcher for Amnesty International.
The idea for the Harry Potter series came to J.K. Rowling in 1990 when she was on a train from Manchester to London. By the time she reached her flat in Clapham Junction, she stared to write instantly. That same year, however, tragedy struck Rowling's life when her mother died. As a result, she began to include more detail about Harry losing his won mother in the book.
In 1992, Rowling was working as an English teacher in Portugal when she married Jorge Arantes, a Portugese TV journalist. They had one child together, Jessica Isabel Rowling Arantes (b. July 1993). Rowling and Arantes separated in 1993 and shortly afterwards, Rowling moved to Edinburgh with her daughter.
J.K. Rowling: The Harry Potter books
The manuscript for Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone was completed in 1995. Rowling was taken on by Christopher Little Literary Agents who eventually secured her a £1500 advance from the Bloomsbury publishing house. In 1997, Rowling received a grant of £8000 from the Scottish Arts Council to allow her to pursue her career further. In the US, an auction was held inviting publishers to bid for the right to publish the book. Scholastic Inc. won the auction, for $105,000.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone won a number of awards, including the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize, as well as the British Book Award for Children's Book Of The Year.
The sequel, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, was published in July 1998. The third book in the series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban also won the Smarties Prize, as had its predecessor, making Rowling the first author to have won the award three years in a row. She lost out on the Book of the Year prize to Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf.
The fourth book in the Harry Potter series was named Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It was published in July 2000 and became a record breaker in both the UK and the US.
Despite relatively short intervals between books until this point, the wait for the fifth Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, lasted around three years.
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was published in 2005 and again broke sales records, selling over 9 million copies in the first day of its release. The book won the Book of the Year award at the British Book Awards.
The final installment of the Harry Potter series was entitled Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was finished in January 2007 and published in July 2007. Again, the book broke previous records, to become the fastest selling book of all time, selling 11 million copies in the first 24 hours of its release. Around the time that she was writing the last book, Rowling was filmed for an ITV series J.K. Rowling. A Year In The Life. In total, the Harry Potter series has been translated into 65 languages.
J.K. Rowling: The Harry Potter films
Warner Bros. bought the rights to the first two Harry Potter books in 1998 and went on to produce a film for each of the seven novels. The first two were released in 2001 and 2002 and were directed by Chris Columbus. The third, released in 2004, was directed by Alfonso Cuarón and the fourth was directed by Mike Newell, released in 2005. There was a wait until 2007 for the release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, which was directed by David Yates.
The films were filmed in Britain, at Rowling's request and featured a largely British cast, which included Alan Rickman as Severus Snape, Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter and Robbie Coltrane as Hagrid,
J.K. Rowling: Personal Life
J.K. Rowling owns Killiechassie House on the River Tay in Scotland and her personal fortune earned her the 144th position in the Sunday Times Rich List, detailing the richest people in Britain.
In 2001, Rowling married Neil Murray, an anaesthetist. They have one son together, David Gordon Rowling Murray (b. 2003) and a daughter, Mackenzie Jean Rowling Murray (b. 2005)