J. K. Rowling

Author details

July 31, 1965

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Joanne Rowling ( ROH-ling; born 31 July 1965), also known by her pen name J. K. Rowling, is a British author and philanthropist. She wrote a seven-volume children's fantasy series, Harry Potter, published from 1997 to 2007. The series has been enormously successful: it has sold over 500 million copies, been translated into at least 70 languages, and spawned a global media franchise including films and video games. The Casual Vacancy (2012) was her first novel for adults. She writes Cormoran Strike, an ongoing crime fiction series, as Robert Galbraith. Born in Yate, Rowling graduated from the University of Exeter in 1987 and began working temp jobs as a bilingual secretary. In 1990, the idea for the characters of Harry Potter came to her while she waited on a delayed train. The seven-year period that followed saw the death of her mother from multiple sclerosis, which deeply affected Rowling and her writing; the birth of her first child; and divorce from her first husband. She wrote the first Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (1997), while experiencing relative poverty as a single parent. Forbes named her the world's highest-paid author in 2008, 2017 and 2019. Rowling concluded …

Books by J. K. Rowling