J. K. Rowling is a British novelist, screenwriter and film producer best known as the author of the Harry Potter fantasy series. The 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 instalment.
Find out more amazing facts about her, here!
1. Joanne Rowling was born 31 July 1965 in Yate, Gloucestershire, England.
2. She is the daughter of Peter James Rowling, a Rolls-Royce aircraft engineer, and Anne Rowling, a science technician.
3. Her parents first met on a train departing from King’s Cross Station bound for Arbroath in 1964.
4. Rowling’s sister Dianne was born at their home when Rowling was 23 months old.
5. The family moved to the nearby village Winterbourne when Rowling was four.
6. She attended St Michael’s Primary School, a school founded by abolitionist William Wilberforce and education reformer Hannah More.
7. Her headmaster at St Michael’s, Alfred Dunn, has been suggested as the inspiration for the Harry Potter headmaster Albus Dumbledore.
8. As a child, Rowling often wrote fantasy stories which she frequently read to her sister.
9. Aged nine, Rowling moved to Church Cottage in the Gloucestershire village of Tutshill, close to Chepstow, Wales.
10. She attended secondary school at Wyedean School and College, where her mother worked in the science department.
11. When she was a young teenager, her great-aunt gave her a copy of Jessica Mitford’s autobiography, Hons and Rebels.
12. Mitford became Rowling’s heroine, and Rowling read all of her books.
13. Rowling has said that her teenage years were unhappy.Her home life was complicated by her mother’s illness and a strained relationship with her father, with whom she is not on speaking terms.
14. An advert in The Guardian led Rowling to move to Porto, Portugal, to teach English as a foreign language.
15. She taught at night and began writing in the day while listening to Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto. After 18 months in Porto, she met Portuguese television journalist Jorge Arantes in a bar and found they shared an interest in Jane Austen.
16. They married on 16 October 1992 and their child, Jessica Isabel Rowling Arantes (named after Jessica Mitford), was born on 27 July 1993 in Portugal.
17. Rowling had previously suffered a miscarriage.
18. The couple separated on 17 November 1993.
19. Biographers have suggested that Rowling suffered domestic abuse during her marriage, although the full extent is unknown.
20. In December 1993, Rowling and her then-infant daughter moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, to be near Rowling’s sister with three chapters of what would become Harry Potter in her suitcase.
21. She wrote her initial Harry Potter Ideas on a napkin while on a train to London.
22. The original Harry Potter manuscript was rejected by 12 publishing houses before Bloomsbury picked it up.
23. JK Rowling was awarded an Order of the British Empire in 2001.
24. She filled five notebook pages with made up “Q” words before she came up with “Quidditch”.
25. Her real name is Joanne Rowling. She has no middle name and instead borrowed the “K” from her grandmother, Kathleen.
27. JK Rowling went from being unemployed to becoming a multi-millionaire in five years.
28. She published her first book for adults, The Casual Vacancy, in 2012.
29. In 2013 she released a crime novel under the pen name “Robert Galbraith”.
30. JK Rowling’s parents met at King’s Cross Station, where Harry takes the Hogwarts Express each year.
31. 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.
32. She is the United Kingdom’s best-selling living author, with sales in excess of £238M.
33. The 2016 Sunday Times Rich List estimated Rowling’s fortune at £600 million, ranking her as the joint 197th richest person in the UK.
34. 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.
35. In October 2010, Rowling was named the “Most Influential Woman in Britain” by leading magazine editors.
36. 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).