a brief history of j.k. rowling.
"My mother passed way nine years ago, and her death greatly influenced a passage in Book 1. And I'm sure careful readers don't need to be told what passage that is. My father is still alive, and he really likes the books, and my sister, to whom the first book is dedicated in part, was the first person ever to hear the story. She didn't read it, but I told it to her." ~ JK Rowling at the 9/8/99 Barnes & Noble Chat
Joanne Kathleen Rowling (aka J.K. Rowling) was born on July 31, 1965 in Chipping Sodbury, UK. Her younger sister, Dianne, was born two years later and the two became very close. Her father works as a manager with Rolls-Royce. Jo's mother, Anne, died in 1990 from multiple sclerosis. An average student, Jo excelled in writing at an early age. She even wrote her first book Rabbit when she was just six years old! While at school, she would often tell stories that painted herself and her friends as heroes who found themselves in exciting adventures. Later, Jo attended the University of Exeter in Devon where she studied French. She also worked as an English and French teacher. While she was living in Portugal, she met and married her first husband, Jorge Artantes, and in 1993 they had a beautiful daughter, Jessica. However, the marriage did not last and the couple divorced. Jo moved back to the UK where she lived off public assistance.
It was during this time that she wrote what would become a worldwide sensation - Harry Potter & the Philospher's Stone. The idea for Harry came when Jo was taking a train ride and eventually she began writing ideas everywhere - she filled notebooks and wrote on napkins from a local cafe. She finally finished the book after receiving a grant from the Scottish Arts Council. Bloomsbury Publishing (in the UK) and Scholastic Publishing (in the US as Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone) bought the rights to the finished novel in 1997 and it was an instant success - Jo was finally able to write full-time! Jo used her initials "J.K." because she was afraid that males wouldn't read her books if they knew a woman had written them, something that has certainly become a non-issue now.
Jo has seven Harry Potter novels planned - one for each year chronicling Harry Potter throughout his tenure at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft & Wizardry and his journey from boy wizard to teenage sorcerer (Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix, and Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince have already been published). The Harry Potter books have sold over 250 million copies, making them the most successful series of all time. Warner Brothers has the film rights for all seven books - "Sorcerer's Stone," "Chamber of Secrets," "Prisoner of Azkaban," and "Goblet of Fire" have already been released starring Daniel Radcliffe as the title character. Rupert Grint and Emma Watson play Harry's sidekicks, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, while the supporting adult roles are played by some of Britain's most acclaimed actors. "Order of the Phoenix," the fifth novel, is slated for a July 2007 release.
In 2001, Jo married Dr. Neil Murray, and has since given birth to son David Gordon Rowling Murray (born 2003) and daughter Mackenzie Jean Rowling Murray (born 2005). She also recently completed the seventh and final book, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, which is scheduled for release on July 21, 2007. Jo currently resides in Scotland with her husband and three children.
For more information on J.K. Rowling, visit her official website at JKRowling.com.