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J.K. Rowling

Date of birth : 1965-07-31
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Chipping Sodury, England
Nationality : British
Category : Famous Figures
Last modified : 2010-11-30

J.K Rowling was born in Chipping Sodury, July 31st 1965. Her childhood was generally happy, although she does remember getting teased because of her name, “Rowling” – She recalls often getting called “Rowling pin” by her less than ingenious school friends. J.K. Rowling says she never really warmed to her own name, although, she does remember having a fondness for the name Potter from quite an early age. J.K.Rowling studied at a school in Gloucestershire, before moving to Chepstow, South Wales at the age of 9.

From an early age, J.K. Rowling had an ambition to be a writer. She often tried her hand at writing, although little came from her early efforts. In her own autobiography she remembers with great fondness, when her good friend Sean became the first person to give her the confidence that one day she would be able to make a very good writer.

“he was also the only person who thought I was bound to be a success at it, which meant much more to me than I ever told him at the time”

Sean was also the owner of a battered old Ford Anglia, which would later appear in one of the Harry Potter series as a flying car.

After finishing school, her parents encouraged her to study French at the rowlingUniversity of Essex. She slightly regretted choosing French, saying she would have preferred to study English. However, it was her parents wish that she study something “ more useful” than English.

After having spent a year in Paris, J.K.Rowling graduated from university and took various jobs in London. One of her favourite jobs was working for Amnesty International; the charity, which campaigns against human rights abuses throughout the world. Amnesty International, is one of the many charities, which J.K.Rowling has generously supported since she attained a new found wealth.

It was in 1990, that J.K.Rowling first conceived of the idea about Harry Potter. As she recalls, it was on a long train journey from London to Manchester when she began forming in her mind, the characters of the series. At the forefront, was a young boy, not aware that he was a wizard. The train was delayed for over 4 hours, as she didn’t have a pen, and was too shy to ask for one nothing was written down. But she remembers being very enthusiastic, and excited about the ideas which were filling her mind.

On arriving in Manchester, she began work on writing the book immediately, although, it would take several years to come to fruition. It was also in December of 1990 that J.K.Rowling lost her mother, who died of Multiple Sclerosis. J.K.Rowling was very close to her mother, and she felt the loss deeply. Her own loss gave an added poignancy to the death of Harry Potter’s mother in her book. She says her favourite scene in the Philosopher’s Stone is, The Mirror of Erised, where Harry sees his parents in the mirror.

In 1991, J.K.Rowling left England to get a job as an English teacher in Portugal. It was here that she met her first husband, and together they had a child Jessica. However, after a couple of years, the couple split after a fierce argument; where by all accounts J.K.Rowling was thrown out of the house. So she returned to England in 1994; still trying to finish her first book. She was also working full time, and bringing up her daughter as a single parent. Eventually, she finished her first copy, and sent it off to various agents. She found an agent, Christopher, who spent over a year trying to get a publisher. Eventually, a quite small publisher, Bloomsbury agreed to take the book on. The editor Barry Cunningham also agreed to pay her an advance of £1500. The decision to take on the book was, in large part, due to his 8 year old daughters enthusiastic reception of the first chapter (However she was advised to continue teaching as writers of children’s books don’t tend to get very well paid.)

Within a few weeks of publication, (1996) the book sales really started to take off. The initial print run was of only 1,000 – 500 of these went to libraries. First editions are now said to be worth up to £25,000 each. She also received a grant from the Scottish arts council, which enabled her to write full time. After the books initial success in the UK, an American company Scholastic agreed to pay a remarkable £100,000 for the rights to publish in America. In 1998, Warner Bros secured the film rights for the books, giving a 7 figure sum. The films have magnified the success of the books, making Harry Potter into one of the most recognisable media products. Under the close guidance of J.K.Rowling, the films have sought to stay close to the original plot; also at J.K.Rowling’s request all the actors are British.

J.K.Rowling has stated recently, that on the 21st December 2006, she finished her final book of the Harry Potter Series – "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". The book is due for release in July 2007. J.K.Rowling has said the book is her favourite, and it makes her both happy and sad. She has said she will continue writing but there is no chance of continuing the Harry Potter Series. She however, may release a dictionary of things related to Hogswart and Harry Potter, that were never published in other books.

J.K.Rowling currently lives in Scotland, on the banks of the river Tay, with her 2nd husband Neil Murray; J.K.Rowling has 3 children, 2 with husband Neil.


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