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J. K. Rowling

Rowling at the White House Easter Egg Roll, 2010
Rowling at the White House Easter Egg Roll, 2010
Born Joanne Rowling
31 July 1965 (1965-07-31) (age 55)
Yate, Gloucestershire, England
Pen name
  • J. K. Rowling
  • Robert Galbraith
Occupation Novelist, film producer, television producer, screenwriter, philanthropist
Nationality British
Education University of Exeter (1986, B.A.)
Period 1997–present
Genre Fantasy, drama, young adult fiction, tragicomedy, crime fiction
Notable works Harry Potter series
  • Jorge Arantes
    (m. 1992; divorce 1995)
  • Neil Murray
    (m. 2001)
Children 3


Joanne is a British novelist, screenwriter, and producer who is best known for writing the Harry Potter fantasy series. The books have 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 was a producer on the final films in the series.

Early and personal life

Rowling was born 31 July 1965 in Chipping Sodbury, near Bristol, England. She grew up in Tutshill, Gloucestershire, and went to school at Wyedean Comprehensive. She earned a degree in French and Classics at the University of Exeter. She worked at Amnesty International in London. The original idea for Harry Potter came to her on a train that was delayed for four hours in 1990.

She moved to Portugal to teach English in 1990. She married Jorge Arantes in October 1992. They had her first child, Jessica in 1993. The marriage ended in divorce and Rowling moved to Edinburgh, Scotland. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (British version) (American version: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone) was first published in the United Kingdom in 1997. She married Dr. Neil Murray in 2001. She had a second child, David, in 2003, and a third, Mackenzie, in January 2005. Rowling is a Christian.

She only uses the name J. K. Rowling for her books: the "K" stands for "Kathleen" which was the first name of her grandmother.

Rowling has lived a "rags to riches" life story, in which she progressed from living on state benefits to being the world's first billionaire author. However, she lost her billionaire status from giving away much of her earnings to charity. Even though she is no longer a billionaire, she is still one of the wealthiest people in the world.

She is the United Kingdom's best-selling living author, with sales in excess of £238M. 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 then launched her own charity: Lumos.

Her books

Coat of arms Hogwarts
Coat of arms Hogwarts

Rowling has won awards for the Harry Potter series of books and has earned over $1 billion. The last book of the series - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released on 21 July 2007. Due to the popularity of the books, Rowling has become very rich; she is said to be the richest woman in the United Kingdom. Her books and popularity, however, are not limited to the Harry Potter series.

Rowling has written many books about the magic in Harry's world, such as 'Quiddich Through the Ages' and 'Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them'. Additionally, she has written other books targeting adults, the first of which is titled The Casual Vacancy. The Cuckoo's Calling was published in April 2013, under the pen name Robert Galbraith, and its sequel followed in June 2014, called The Silkworm.


Rowling's novels feature a teenage boy named Harry Potter who grows up in a normal world with his aunt, uncle and cousin Dudley. When he is eleven years old, he discovers that he is a wizard and attends a magical academy called Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry, where Albus Dumbledore is headmaster. Harry discovers his past about a dark wizard and with the help from his best friends Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger, he attempts to destroy the darkest wizard of all time, Voldemort, once and for all.


In 2000, Rowling established the Volant Charitable Trust, which uses its annual budget of £5.1 million to combat poverty and social inequality. The fund also gives to organisations that aid children, one parent families, and multiple sclerosis research.

Rowling, once a single parent, is now president of the charity Gingerbread (originally One Parent Families), having become their first Ambassador in 2000. Rowling collaborated with Sarah Brown to write a book of children's stories to aid One Parent Families.

Rowling is a supporter of The Shannon Trust, which runs the Toe by Toe Reading Plan and the Shannon Reading Plan in prisons across Britain, helping and giving tutoring to prisoners who cannot read


Harry Potter series

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (June 26 1997 (UK), January 9 1998 (US)
  2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (July 2 1998 (UK), February 6 1999 (US)
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (July 8 1999 (UK), August 9 1999 (US)
  4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (July 7 2000)
  5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (June 21, 2003)
  6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (July 16 2005)
  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (July 21, 2007)
  8. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (July 31, 2016)

Other books

  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (supplement to the Harry Potter series) (2001)
  • Quidditch Through the Ages (supplement to the Harry Potter series) (2001)
  • The Tales of Beedle the Bard (supplement to the Harry Potter series) (2007)
  • The Casual Vacancy (An 'adult' book. Her first novel that wasn't in the Harry Potter universe) (2012)
  • The Cuckoo's Calling (A crime fiction novel written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith) (2013)

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