JK Rowling Biography
Joanne Kathleen Rowling was born on
July 31, 1965, in Chipping Sodbury, near Bristol, England. A single mother living in Edinburgh, Scotland, Rowling became
an international literary sensation in 1999, when the first three installments of her Harry Potter children's book series
took over the top three slots of the New York Times best-seller list after achieving similar success in her native United
Kingdom. The phenomenal response to Rowling's books culminated in July 2000, when the fourth volume in the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
, became the fastest-selling book in history.
A graduate of Exeter University, Rowling moved to Portugal in 1990 to teach English. There, she met and married a Portuguese journalist. The couple's daughter,
Jessica, was born in 1993. After her marriage ended in divorce, Rowling moved to Edinburgh with her daughter to live near her younger sister, Di. While struggling to support Jessica and herself on welfare, Rowling worked on a book, the idea for which had reportedly occurred to her while she was traveling on a train from Manchester to London in 1990. After a number of rejections, she was finally able to sell the book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
(the word "Philosopher" was changed to
"Sorcerer" for its publication in America), for the equivalent of about $4,000.
By the summer of 2000, the first three
Harry Potter books; Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
, and Harry Potter and
the Prisoner of Azkaban
had earned approximately $480 million in three years, with over 35 million copies in print in 35
languages. In July 2000, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
saw a first printing of 5.3 million copies and advance orders
of over 1.8 million. Rowling, now one of Britain's richest women, plans a total of seven books in the series, each
chronicling a year in the life of Harry Potter, a young wizard, and his motley band of cohorts at the Hogwart's School of
Witchcraft and Wizardry. The fifth installment, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
, hit book stores on
June 21st, 2003, roughly three years after the fourth book was released.
A film version of Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone
directed by Chris Columbus (Home Alone, Mrs. Doubtfire) was released on November 16th, 2001. In its opening weekend in
the U.S., the film debuted on a record 8,200 screens and smashed the previous box office
record, earning an estimated $93.5 million ($20 million more than the previous recordholder, 1999's The Lost World: Jurassic Park). It ended the year as the top-grossing movie of 2001. The second film in the series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
, opened on November 15th, 2002 and had the third best opening weekend in box office history.
In late December 2001, Rowling married anesthetist Dr. Neil Murray at the couple's home in Scotland. Her second child and first son, David Gordon Rowling Murray, was born on March 24th, 2003, at the new Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh. To give herself more time to care for her son, Rowling planned less public appearances and book signings for the fifth book. Shortly after announcing that the sixth book in the Harry Potter series was completed, Rowling gave birth to her third child on January 23, 2005, a daughter named Mackenzie Jean Rowling Murray.
The sixth Harry Potter book, entitled Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
, was officially released at 12:01 am on July 16th, 2005. To launch the book, Rowling organized an incredibly special event at Edinburgh Castle. She participated in several interviews, mostly with the younger Harry Potter readers. Her longest interview, and by far the most interesting, was conducted with none other than MuggleNets creator Emerson Spartz and Melissa Anelli from The Leaky Cauldron. It is widely agreed that the launch parties for the sixth book around the globe were more spectacular than any other Harry Potter book launch.
Right now, J.K. Rowling is in the process of writing Book 7; however, she "still has plenty to write," and neither a title nor a release date for the book has yet to be announced.
(Thanks to Biography.com
for some of the info!)
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