J.K Rowling: A Magical Life Millions of children have been captivated by the stories of Harry Potter and his friends. J.K. Rowling creates a magical world of adventure, danger and excitement in her five Harry Potter novels. Rowling has become one of the best-selling authors of all time, but her life wasn’t always easy.
Joanne Rowling was born on July 31, 1966 in Chipping Sodbury, England (Magic). She has one younger sister, Di, that was born eleven months after she was (gaga). She was born near the city, but when Rowling was nine, her family moved to the country. She loved her life there because she could “wander…amid the fields and play along the River Wye” (Major Authors). Their closest neighbors were the Potter family, and she named her main character, Harry Potter, after her good friend, Ian Potter (kidzworld).
Rowling has always liked telling stories, and started writing at a very young age. She wrote her first book, titled “Rabbit” when she was six years old (Major Authors). The story developed because both she and her sister really wanted to have a rabbit as a pet. Rowling says that she always wanted to be a writer because she is “perfectly happy alone in a room, making things up” (jkrowling.com).
After grade school, where English was her favorite subject, Rowling studied French at Exeter University because her parents wanted her to have a career as a bilingual secretary (gaga). It wasn’t until years later, while working as a secretary for Amnesty International, that she discovered she hated the job. She describes herself as the “worst secretary ever” (gaga). She also states that she is “terminally disorganized” (jkrowling.com). The only part of the job she liked was that she could type up her stories when things were slow in the office (Major Authors).
Rowling got married to a Portuguese journalist and had her daughter, Jessica, in 1993. However, the marriage ended shortly after the birth of her daughter, so she moved to Edinburgh, Scotland to be near her sister, Di (gaga). Life was not easy as a single parent, and at one point, Rowling was even on welfare (Major Authors). She was in between jobs when she really started writing her first Harry Potter novel (Magic). The idea had come to her while she was on a train in London in 1990, and she finished the first novel while she was an “unemployed teacher in Edinburgh” (World Book). She wrote much of the story in restaurants while her young daughter was napping. The owners were kind enough to give her a large table to work on, and both she and her daughter could stay warm there (gaga).
Her first novel, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, was published in 1997. It tells the story of young Harry Potter, an orphan and a wizard, who attends Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with his young friends. Here Harry faces danger and adventure, and fends off the evil sorcerer, Voldemort who killed Harry’s parents years ago.
After the publishing rights for the book were sold, Rowling received “enough money to give up teaching and write full time” (gaga). Since then, she has published five Harry Potter novels, and two other books: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages (Major Authors). Her books have been translated into more than 45 languages in over 200 countries (Magic). Rowling has won numerous awards, including the Smarties Book Prize Gold Medal, and the Brittish Book Awards’s Children’s Book of the Year (edupaperback). Because of the fantastic sales of her book, she is now the second richest woman in England, second only to the Queen! (Major Authors).
I have read all of Rowling’s books, and especially enjoyed the third novel, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. This book continues Harry’s adventures, and we get to know him on a deeper level. We also learn more about his past, and the mysterious Sirius Black. Harry’s magical powers grow, and he learns that he is more powerful than he realized. But with power comes responsibility, and Harry takes on bigger challenges in this novel.
J.K. Rowling still lives in Edinburgh with her new husband and two children (jkrowling.com) But she didn’t always have the magical life she has now. She says she still remembers how hard it was to be poor (jkrowling.com). Her great story ideas, her love of writing, and her dedication to her craft have made her a huge success. What is more, she has brought her magic into the lives of millions through her best selling Harry Potter novels. Rowling will certainly be remembered as one of the most popular writers of her time.
Rowling, J.K. [online] http://www.edupaperback.org/authorbios/Rowling_JK.html Jan 9, 2003
“Magic Maker.” Scholastic Scope Magazine. November 15, 2002. pg 12
“Rowling, J.K.” World Book Encylopedia. Q-R Volume 16. 2003 Edition.
“Rowling, J(oanne) K.” Major Authors and Illustrators for Children and Young Adults. Second Edition, Volume 7. 2002 p3988-3993
J.K. Rowling Official Site. http://www.jkrowling.com November 16, 2004
“J.K. Rowling Biography.” Pagewise. http://www.gaga.essortment.com/jkrowlingbiogr_reakhtm. November 15, 2004
“J.K. Rowling.” http://www.kidzworld.com/site/p924.htm November 15, 2004