Updated: Feb 11
Who was JK Rowling ?
Joanne Rowling ( born 31 July 1965), better known by her pen name J. K. Rowling, is a British author, film producer, television producer, screenwriter, and philanthropist. She is best known for writing the Harry Potter fantasy series, which has won multiple awards and sold more than 500 million copies and are translated into over 80 languages, and made into eight blockbuster films, becoming the best-selling book series in history. The books are the basis of a popular film series, over which Rowling had overall approval on the scripts and was a producer on the final films. She also writes crime fiction under the name Robert Galbraith.
Born in Yate, Gloucestershire, Rowling was working as a researcher and bilingual secretary for Amnesty International when she conceived the idea for the Harry Potter series while on a delayed train from Manchester to London in 1990.The seven-year period that followed saw the death of her mother, birth of her first child, divorce from her first husband, and relative poverty until the first novel in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, was published in 1997. There were six sequels, of which the last, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was released in 2007.
Since then, Rowling has written five books for adult readers: The Casual Vacancy (2012) and—under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith—the crime fiction Cormoran Strike series, which consists of The Cuckoo's Calling (2013), The Silkworm (2014), Career of Evil (2015), and Lethal White (2018).
Rowling has lived a "rags to riches" life in which she progressed from living on benefits to being named the world's first billionaire author by Forbes. However, Rowling disputed the assertion, saying she was not a billionaire. Forbes reported that she lost her billionaire status after giving away much of her earnings to charity but remains one of the wealthiest people in the world. She is the UK's best-selling living author, with sales in excess of £238 million. The 2019 Sunday Times Rich List estimated Rowling's fortune at £750 million, ranking her as the joint 191st richest person in the UK.
Time named her 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 multiple charities, including Comic Relief, One Parent Families, and Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain, as well as launching her own charity, Lumos.
I. Marriage, divorce, single parenthood and Struggles
An advertisement in The Guardian led Rowling to move to Porto, Portugal, to teach English as a foreign language. 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. 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.Rowling had previously suffered a miscarriage.
The couple separated on 17 November 1993. Biographers have suggested that Rowling suffered domestic abuse during her marriage, although the extent is unknown. 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.
Seven years after graduating from university, Rowling saw herself as a failure. Her marriage had failed, and she was jobless with a dependent child, but she described her failure as liberating and allowing her to focus on writing. During this period, Rowling was diagnosed with clinical depression and contemplated suicide. Her illness inspired the characters known as Dementors, soul-sucking creatures introduced in the third book. Rowling signed up for welfare benefits, describing her economic status as being "poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless."
Pic : Rowling moved to Porto, Portugal ( to teach English ) .
Rowling was left in despair after her estranged husband arrived in Scotland, seeking both her and her daughter. She obtained an Order of Restraint, and Arantes returned to Portugal, with Rowling filing for divorce in August 1994. She began a teacher training course in August 1995 at the Moray House School of Education, at Edinburgh University, after completing her first novel while living on state benefits.
She wrote in many cafés, especially Nicolson's Café (owned by her brother-in-law),and the Elephant House, wherever she could get Jessica to fall asleep.In a 2001 BBC interview, Rowling denied the rumour that she wrote in local cafés to escape from her unheated flat, pointing out that it had heating. One of the reasons she wrote in cafés was that taking her baby out for a walk was the best way to make her fall asleep.
In 2016, J.K. Rowling collaborated with playwright Jack Thorne and director John Tiffany to continue Harry’s story in a stage play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which opened in London and is now playing in the USA and Australia. In the same year, she made her debut as a screenwriter with the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. Inspired by the original companion volume, it was the first in a series of new adventures featuring wizarding world magizoologist Newt Scamander. The second, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, was released in 2018, and the third instalment is due out in November 2021. J.K. Rowling also writes novels for adults.
The Casual Vacancy was published in September 2012 and adapted for television by the BBC in 2015.
Under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, she is also the author of the highly acclaimed ‘Strike’ crime series, featuring private detective Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott. The first of these, The Cuckoo’s Calling, was publishing to critical acclaim in 2013, at first without it’s authors true identity being known. The Silkworm followed in 2014, Career of Evil in 2015 and Lethal White in 2018. They have also been adapted for television by the BBC and HOBO, with Lethal White currently in production.
The fifth book, Troubled Blood, is to be published in 2020.
JK Rowling's Harvard Commencement Specch 2008
J.K. Rowling’s 2008 Harvard commencement speech was published in 2015 as an illustrated book, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination and sold in aid of Lumos and university–wide financial aid at Harvard. As well as receiving an OBE and Companion of Honour for services to children's literature,
J.K. Rowling has received many awards and honours, including France’s Legion d’Honneur, Spain’s Prince of Asturias Award, Denmark’s Hans Christian Andersen Award and the Robert F Kennedy Ripple of Hope Award. J.K. Rowling supports a number of causes through her charitable trust, Volant. She is also the founder and president of the international non-profit children’s organization Lumos, which works to end the institutionalisation of children globally and ensure they grow up in a safe and caring environment.
II. Financial success
In 2004, Forbes named Rowling as the first person to become a US-dollar billionaire by writing books,the second-richest female entertainer and the 1,062nd richest person in the world. Rowling disputed the calculations and said she had plenty of money, but was not a billionaire. The 2019 Sunday Times Rich List estimated Rowling's fortune at £750 million, ranking her as the joint 191st richest person in the UK. In 2012, Forbes removed Rowling from their rich list, claiming that her US$160 million in charitable donations and the high tax rate in the UK meant she was no longer a billionaire.
Rowling acquired the courtesy title of Laird of Killiechassie in 2001 when she purchased the historic Killiechassie House, and its surrounding estate situated on the banks of the River Tay, near Aberfeldy, in Perth and Kinross. Rowling also owns a £4.5 million Georgian house in Kensington, west London, on a street with 24-hour security.
Rowling was named the most highly paid author in the world with earnings of £72 million ($95 million) a year by Forbes in 2017.
III.Remarriage and family
On 26 December 2001, Rowling married Neil Murray (born 30 June 1971), a Scottish doctor,in a private ceremony at her home, Killiechassie House in Scotland. Their son, David Gordon Rowling Murray, was born on 24 March 2003. Shortly after Rowling began writing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, she ceased working on the novel to care for David in his early infancy.
Rowling is a friend of Sarah Brown, wife of former prime minister Gordon Brown, whom she met when they collaborated on a charitable project. When Sarah Brown's son Fraser was born in 2003, Rowling was one of the first to visit her in hospital. Rowling's youngest child, daughter Mackenzie Jean Rowling Murray, to whom she dedicated Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, was born on 23 January 2005.
In October 2012, a New Yorker magazine article stated that the Rowling family lived in a seventeenth-century Edinburgh house, concealed at the front by tall conifer hedges. Prior to October 2012, Rowling lived near the author Ian Rankin, who later said she was quiet and introspective, and that she seemed in her element with children. As of June 2014, the family resides in Scotland.
To many, Rowling is known for her centre-left political views. In September 2008, on the eve of the Labour Party Conference, Rowling announced that she had donated £1 million to the Labour Party, and publicly endorsed Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown over Conservative challenger David Cameron, praising Labour's policies on child poverty. Rowling is a close friend of Sarah Brown, wife of Gordon Brown, whom she met when they collaborated on a charitable project for One Parent Families.
Over the years, some religious people, particularly Christians, have decried Rowling's books for supposedly promoting witchcraft. Rowling identifies as a Christian. She once said, "I believe in God, not magic." Early on she felt that if readers knew of her Christian beliefs they would be able to predict plot lines of characters in her books.
In 2007, Rowling said she was the only one in her family who went regularly to church; she was an adherent of the Church of England. As a student she became annoyed at the "smugness of religious people" and attended less often. Later, she started to attend a Church of Scotland congregation at the time she was writing Harry Potter. Her eldest daughter, Jessica, was baptised there.
In 2000, Rowling established the Volant Charitable Trust, which uses its annual budget to combat poverty and social inequality, with a particular emphasis on women and children. Volant also funds major disaster appeals as the focus of the Trust's international support.
" It’s much easier for certain sections of society to say. "You’ve brought this on yourself by your fecklessness; you sort it out," than to say "You’ve been a victim of circumstances" or "Hey, marriages break up…..but how are we going to help you help yourself?"
Her philanthropy is now unabashedly visible and involved. For example, two books written for Comic Relief – Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages – have gone on to raise £15.7m for the fund. Rowling has said that “You have a moral responsibility when you’ve been given far more than you need, to do wise things with it and give intelligently”.
Anti-poverty and children's welfare
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.
In 2001, the UK anti-poverty fundraiser Comic Relief asked three best-selling British authors – cookery writer and TV presenter Delia Smith, Bridget Jones creator Helen Fielding, and Rowling – to submit booklets related to their most famous works for publication.
Rowling's two booklets, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages, are ostensibly facsimiles of books found in the Hogwarts library. Since going on sale in March 2001, the books have raised £15.7 million for the fund. The £10.8 million they have raised outside the UK have been channelled into a newly created International Fund for Children and Young People in Crisis. In 2002, Rowling contributed a foreword to Magic, an anthology of fiction published by Bloomsbury Publishing, helping to raise money for the National Council for One Parent Families.
JK Rowling's story is no doubt, Rags to Riches Story, but the number of turns and twists are unimaginable and breathtaking.
As she said in Harvard Commencement Speech, There is no glamour in Poverty or being Poor and from there to failed marriage, with a kid to support, with no one to count on, then pushed herself to committing suicide and then started writing in Cafes, then becoming Successful Author with famous Harry Potter series, selling close to 50o million copies and then on to Financial Success and becoming a Billionnaire Author.
What a Stunning story, for which we are all contemporaries and witnesses and its a highly Inspirational story to One and All.
If You Decide and Want to Do It.....!!
You can Do It !!