Author of the Month
J K Rowling
Joanne Rowling was born on 31st July 1965 at Yate General Hospital just outside Bristol, and grew up in Gloucestershire in England and in Chepstow, Gwent, in south-east Wales.
The young Jo grew up surrounded by books. “I lived for books,’’ she has said. “I was your basic common-or-garden bookworm, complete with freckles and National Health spectacles.”
Jo wanted to be a writer from an early age. She wrote her first book at the age of six – a story about a rabbit, called ‘Rabbit’. At just eleven, she wrote her first novel – about seven cursed diamonds and the people who owned them.
Jo conceived the idea of Harry Potter in 1990 while sitting on a delayed train from Manchester to London King’s Cross. Over the next five years, she began to map out all seven books of the series. She wrote mostly in longhand and gradually built up a mass of notes, many of which were scribbled on odd scraps of paper.Taking her notes with her, she moved to northern Portugal to teach English as a foreign language, married Jorge Arantes in October 1992 and had a daughter, Jessica, in 1993. When the marriage ended later that year, she returned to the UK to live in Edinburgh, carrying not just Jessica but a suitcase containing the first three chapters of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.Having completed the full manuscript, she sent the first three chapters to a number of literary agents, one of whom wrote back asking to see the rest of it. She says it was “the best letter I had ever received in my life.”
The book was first published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books in June 1997, under the name J.K. Rowling.The “K” stands for Kathleen, her paternal grandmother’s name. It was added at her publisher’s request, who thought a book by an obviously female author might not appeal to the target audience of young boys.
In 2001, the film adaptation of the first book was released by Warner Bros., and was followed by six more book adaptations, concluding with the release of the eighth film,Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, in 2011.J.K. Rowling has also written two small volumes, which appear as the titles of Harry’s school books within the novels. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through The Ages were published in March 2001 in aid of Comic Relief.