Joanne “Jo” Rowling, under the pen name J.K. Rowling, is the author of the Harry Potter series. She has won countless awards, and her books have sold more than 400 million copies. Harry Potter is the best-selling book series in history, and the series of films based on the books has become the highest-grossing film series in history. She also wrote the adult novel The Casual Vacancy and is currently penning the Cormoran Strike series under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.
She has led a “rags to riches” life, going from living on government assistance to multi-millionaire status within five years. TIME magazine 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 is a well-known philanthropist, supporting many different charities, including several of her own. The author currently resides in Scotland with her husband and three children.
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Joanne “Jo” Rowling’s story began July 31, 1965, at Yate General Hospital in England. She is the eldest child of Peter and Anne Rowling, having one younger sister, Dianne. After Dianne’s birth, the family moved to Winterbourne, Bristol. They later moved to Chepstow, Gwent, where Rowling attended Wyedean Comprehensive.
Rowling went on to study at Exeter University, where she earned a BA in French and Classics, spending one year of study in Paris.
After graduating, Rowling moved to London, working as a researcher for Amnesty International. While on a delayed train from Manchester to London, Rowling conceived the idea for a book about a young boy, who happened to be a wizard, and his adventures at wizarding school.
In 1990, Rowling’s mother, Anne, lost her battle with multiple sclerosis, which she had been fighting for a decade.
Rowling left England, moving to Porto, Portugal, to teach English as a foreign language. She married in October of 1992 and gave birth to her first child, Jessica, in July of 1993. With the end of her marriage, Rowling and Jessica returned to the UK, settling in Edinburgh, where, in 1997, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was first published by Bloomsbury.
In order to appeal to an audience of young boys, the publisher wanted to use initials rather than her clearly female first name. Having no middle name of her own, Rowling took the name of her paternal grandmother, Kathleen, and became the author of the Harry Potter series.
On December 26, 2001, Rowling was married to Dr. Neil Murray, and in March of 2003, the couple’s first child together, David, was born. Their second child together, Mackenzie, was born in January of 2005.
Rowling currently resides in Edinburgh with her husband and three children.
J.K. Rowling has received many honors and awards, including:
- Author of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award, British Book Awards, 1999 and 2008
- Booksellers Association Author of the Year, 1998 and 1999
- Order of the British Empire (OBE), 2001
- WH Smith Fiction Award, 2004
- Prince of Asturias Award for Concord, Spain, 2003
- Blue Peter Gold Badge, 2007
- Commencement speaker, Harvard University, USA, 2008
- The Edinburgh Award, 2008
- James Joyce Award, University College Dublin, 2008
- South Bank Show Award for Outstanding Achievement, 2008
- Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur: France, 2009
- Hans Christian Andersen Award, Denmark, 2010
- Honorary Degrees from the University of Exeter, University of St Andrews, Napier University, University of Edinburgh, Dartmouth College USA, Harvard University USA, and University of Aberdeen
Inspired by an article revealing the traumatizing treatment of children in Czech institutions, Rowling established the Children’s High Level Group in 2005. Five years later, the charity transformed into Lumos.
Today, Lumos is focused on eradicating and transforming the systematic institutionalization of children across Europe, with projects currently taking place in Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Moldova, and Montenegro. The charity envisions a world where children aren’t placed in large, uncaring institutions but raised in safe and loving environments.
Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic
In 2010, J.K. Rowling made a substantial donation for the foundation of a new clinic at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. In addition to conducting major research into neuro-regeneration, the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic will support patients with multiple sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases. The facility is named after Rowling’s mother, who died of multiple sclerosis aged 45, and was officially opened by HRH The Princess Royal in October 2013.
For seven years, J.K. Rowling was an Ambassador of One Parent Families, now called Gingerbread, a charity working with lone parents and their children. In 2007, J.K. Rowling took an honorary position as President of the charity.
J.K. Rowling supports a number of charities and causes through her charitable trust, Volant. The trust has two broad areas of funding: research into the causes, treatment, and possible cures of multiple sclerosis, which is channeled entirely via the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic; and charities and projects which alleviate social deprivation at home or abroad, with a particular emphasis on women’s and children’s issues.
As a postgraduate, J.K. Rowling worked at the London office of Amnesty International, doing research into human rights abuses in Francophone Africa.
J.K. Rowling was Patron of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Scotland for nine years. Her support included planning and hosting fundraising events, lobbying, and raising awareness of the disease, as well as contributing significant funds for research in Scotland. She stepped down as Patron of the charity in 2009 but continues to fund MS research directly through the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic.
J.K. Rowling has supported Comic Relief, for which she has written two short books that appear as titles of two of Harry Potter’schoolbooksks withing the novels, Maggie’s Centres, of which she was a Patron for several years, and Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders, in aid of which she performed in an event with authors Stephen King and John Irving in New York in 2006. She also contributed to a book in aid of the Elton John AIDS Foundation, Dear Me: More Letters to My Sixteen-Year-Old Self, in 2011.
You can write to J.K. Rowling at the following address:
C/O Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
50 Bedford Square
London WC1B 3DP
J.K Rowling’s PR is handled by Nicky Stonehill and Rebecca Salt.
Her management is handled by Mark Hutchinson.
Mark Hutchinson Management: www.markhutchinsonmanagement.co.uk
The full list of links to her publishers can be found on her website.
J.K. Rowling very rarely does interviews or public speaking, and when she does they are usually around a new project or charitable commitment. Please note that she does not undertake fee-paying public speaking engagements. Because of the huge volume of requests coming in, J.K. Rowling also regrets she is unable to:
- Answer individual questions or comment on specific topics from readers or read or comment on writing, stories, ideas, or artwork.
- Sign copies of the Harry Potter books for individuals.
- Send out autographs or signed photographs.
- Respond to individual requests for financial assistance.
The Blair Partnership
The Blair Partnership represents J.K. Rowling internationally and across all media. Please direct any queries to firstname.lastname@example.org, and a member of the team will be in touch directly.