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Saturday, March 24, 2012

J. K. Rowling


Born-Joanne owling
31 July 1965 (age 46)
Yate, Gloucestershire, England 

Occupation- Novelist 

Nationality- British 

Education- achelor of Arts 

Almamater -University of Exeter Genres- Children's literature 

Subjects- Wizards and witches 

Notablework(s) -Harry Potter series Spouse(s)- Jorge Arantes (m. 1992–95)
Neil Murray (m. 2001–present) Children 2 daughters, 1 son

Although she writes under the pen name "J. K. Rowling", pronounced like rolling, her name when her first Harry Potter book was published was simply "Joanne Rowling". Fearing that the target audience of young boys might not want to read a book written by a woman, her publishers demanded that she use two initials, rather than her full name. As she had no middle name, she chose K as the second initial of her pen name, from her paternal grandmother Kathleen Ada Bulgen Rowling.She calls herself "Jo" and has said, "No one ever called me 'Joanne' when I was young, unless they were angry."Following her marriage, she has sometimes used the name Joanne Murray when conducting personal business.During the Leveson Inquiry she gave evidence under the name of Joanne Kathleen Rowling.

Background

Rowling was born to Peter James Rowling and Anne Rowling (née Volant), on 31 July 1965 in Yate, Gloucestershire, England, 10 miles (16 km) northeast of Bristol.Her mother Anne was half-French, half-Scottish. Her mother's maternal grandfather, Dr Dugald Campbell, was born in Lamlash on the Isle of Arran.Her mother's paternal grandfather, Louis Volant, was awarded the Croix de Guerre for exceptional bravery in defending the village of Courcelles-le-Comte during the First World War.
Rowling's sister Dianne was born at their home when Rowling was 23 months old.The family moved to the nearby village Winterbourne when Rowling was four.She attended St Michael's Primary School, a school founded by abolitionist William Wilberforce and education reformer Hannah More. Her headmaster at St Michael's, Alfred Dunn, has been suggested as the inspiration for the Harry Potter headmaster Albus Dumbledore.
As a child, Rowling often wrote fantasy stories, which she would usually then read to her sister. She recalls that "I can still remember me telling her a story in which she fell down a rabbit hole and was fed strawberries by the rabbit family inside it. Certainly the first story I ever wrote down (when I was five or six) was about a rabbit called Rabbit. He got the measles and was visited by his friends, including a giant bee called Miss Bee."At the age of nine, Rowling moved to Church Cottage in the Gloucestershire village of Tutshill, close to Chepstow, Wales. When she was a young teenager, her great aunt, who Rowling said "taught classics and approved of a thirst for knowledge, even of a questionable kind", gave her a very old copy of Jessica Mitford's autobiography, Hons and Rebels.Mitford became Rowling's heroine, and Rowling subsequently read all of her books.
She attended secondary school at Wyedean School and College, where her mother, Anne, had worked as a technician in the Science Department.Rowling has said of her adolescence, "Hermione [A bookish, know-it-all Harry Potter character] is loosely based on me. She's a caricature of me when I was eleven, which I'm not particularly proud of."Sean Harris, her best friend in the Upper Sixth owned a turquoise Ford Anglia, which she says inspired the one in her books. "Ron Weasley [Harry Potter's best friend] isn't a living portrait of Sean, but he really is very Sean-ish."Of her musical tastes of the time, she said "My favourite group in the world is The Smiths. And when I was going through a punky phase, it was The Clash." Rowling read for a BA in French and Classics at the University of Exeter, which she says was a "bit of a shock" as she "was expecting to be amongst lots of similar people – thinking radical thoughts." Once she made friends with "some like-minded people" she says she began to enjoy herself.After a year of study in Paris, Rowling moved to London to work as a researcher and bilingual secretary for Amnesty International.
After working at Amnesty International in London, Rowling and her then-boyfriend decided to move to Manchester.In 1990, while she was on a four-hour-delayed train trip from Manchester to London, the idea for a story of a young boy attending a school of wizardry "came fully formed" into her mind. She told The Boston Globe that "I really don't know where the idea came from. It started with Harry, then all these characters and situations came flooding into my head." When she had reached her Clapham Junction flat, she began to write immediately.
In December of that year, Rowling's mother died, after ten years suffering from multiple sclerosis.Rowling commented, "I was writing Harry Potter at the moment my mother died. I had never told her about Harry Potter."Rowling said this death heavily affected her writing and that she introduced much more detail about Harry's loss in the first book, because she knew about how it felt.
Rowling then moved to Porto in Portugal to teach English as a foreign language.While there, on 16 October 1992, she married Portuguese television journalist Jorge Arantes. Their child, Jessica Isabel Rowling Arantes (named after Jessica Mitford), was born on 27 July 1993 in Portugal. They separated in November 1993. In December 1993, Rowling and her daughter moved to be near Rowling's sister in Edinburgh, Scotland.During this period Rowling was diagnosed with clinical depression, and contemplated suicide. It was the feeling of her illness which brought her the idea of Dementors, soul-sucking creatures introduced in the third book.
Seven years after graduating from university, Rowling saw herself as "the biggest failure I knew." Her marriage had failed, she was jobless with a dependent child, but she described her failure as liberating:
Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy to finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one area where I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter, and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life. – J. K. Rowling, Harvard commencement address, 2008.
In order to teach in Scotland she would need a postgraduate certificate of education (PGCE), requiring a full-time, year-long course of study. She began this course in August 1995, after completing her first novel while having survived on social security. She wrote in many cafés, especially Nicolson's Café,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, remarking, "I am not stupid enough to rent an unheated flat in Edinburgh in midwinter. It had heating." Instead, as she stated on the American TV programme A&E Biography, one of the reasons she wrote in cafés was because taking her baby out for a walk was the best way to make her fall asleep.

Harry Potter

Harry Potter books


 In 1995, Rowling finished her manuscript for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone on an old manual typewriter. Upon the enthusiastic response of Bryony Evens, a reader who had been asked to review the book's first three chapters, the Fulham-based Christopher Little Literary Agents agreed to represent Rowling in her quest for a publisher. The book was submitted to twelve publishing houses, all of which rejected the manuscript.A year later she was finally given the green light (and a £1500 advance) by editor Barry Cunningham from Bloomsbury, a small publishing house in London. The decision to publish Rowling's book apparently owes much to Alice Newton, the eight-year-old daughter of Bloomsbury's chairman, who was given the first chapter to review by her father and immediately demanded the next. Although Bloomsbury agreed to publish the book, Cunningham says that he advised Rowling to get a day job, since she had little chance of making money in children's books.Soon after, in 1997, Rowling received an £8000 grant from the Scottish Arts Council to enable her to continue writing. The following spring, an auction was held in the United States for the rights to publish the novel, and was won by Scholastic Inc., for $105,000. Rowling has said she "nearly died" when she heard the news.
In June 1997, Bloomsbury published Philosopher's Stone with an initial print run of 1,000 copies, 500 of which were distributed to libraries. Today, such copies are valued between £16,000 and £25,000.Five months later, the book won its first award, a Nestlé Smarties Book Prize. In February, the novel won the prestigious British Book Award for Children's Book of the Year, and later, the Children's Book Award. In October 1998, Scholastic published Philosopher's Stone in the US under the title of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: a change Rowling claims she now regrets and would have fought if she had been in a better position at the time. Its sequel, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, was published in July 1998 and again Rowling won the Smarties Prize.
In December 1999, the third novel, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, won the Smarties Prize, making Rowling the first person to win the award three times running.She later withdrew the fourth Harry Potter novel from contention to allow other books a fair chance. In January 2000, Prisoner of Azkaban won the inaugural Whitbread Children's Book of the Year award, though it lost the Book of the Year prize to Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf.
The fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, was released simultaneously in the UK and the U.S. on 8 July 2000, and broke sales records in both countries. Some 372,775 copies of the book were sold in its first day in the UK, almost equalling the number Prisoner of Azkaban sold during its first year.In the US, the book sold three million copies in its first 48 hours, smashing all literary sales records.Rowling admitted that she had had a moment of crisis while writing the novel; "Halfway through writing Four, I realised there was a serious fault with the plot ... I've had some of my blackest moments with this book ... One chapter I rewrote 13 times, though no-one who has read it can spot which one or know the pain it caused me."Rowling was named author of the year in the 2000 British Book Awards.
A wait of three years occurred between the release of Goblet of Fire and the fifth Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. This gap led to press speculation that Rowling had developed writer's block, speculations she fervently denied.Rowling later admitted that writing the book was a chore. "I think Phoenix could have been shorter", she told Lev Grossman, "I knew that, and I ran out of time and energy toward the end."
The sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, was released on 16 July 2005. It too broke all sales records, selling nine million copies in its first 24 hours of release.While writing, she told a fan online, "Book six has been planned for years, but before I started writing seriously I spend two months re-visiting the plan and making absolutely sure I knew what I was doing." She noted on her website that the opening chapter of book six, which features a conversation between the Minister of Magic and the British Prime Minister, had been intended as the first chapter first for Philosopher's Stone, then Chamber of Secrets then Prisoner of Azkaban. In 2006, Half-Blood Prince received the Book of the Year prize at the British Book Awards.
The title of the seventh and final Harry Potter book was revealed 21 December 2006 to be Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. In February 2007 it was reported that Rowling wrote on a bust in her hotel room at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh that she had finished the seventh book in that room on 11 January 2007.Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released on 21 July 2007 (0:01 BST)and broke its predecessor's record as the fastest-selling book of all time.It sold 11 million copies in the first day of release in the United Kingdom and United States. She has said that the last chapter of the book was written "in something like 1990", as part of her earliest work on the entire series. During a year period when Rowling was completing the last book, she allowed herself to be filmed for a documentary which aired in Britain on ITV on 30 December 2007. It was entitled J K Rowling... A Year In The Life and showed her returning to her old Edinburgh tenement flat where she lived, and completed the first Harry Potter book. Re-visiting the flat for the first time reduced her to tears, saying it was "really where I turned my life around completely."
In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Rowling gave credit to her mother for the success of the series saying that "the books are what they are because she died...because I loved her and she died."Rowling entered a long period of depression due to her mother's death, from which the Dementors of the series were inspired.
Harry Potter is now a global brand worth an estimated £7 billion ($15 billion), and the last four Harry Potter books have consecutively set records as the fastest-selling books in history.The series, totalling 4,195 pages, has been translated, in whole or in part, into 65 languages.
The Harry Potter books have also gained recognition for sparking an interest in reading among the young at a time when children were thought to be abandoning books for computers and television, although it is reported that despite the huge uptake of the books, adolescent reading has continued to decline.
Harry Potter films
In October 1998, Warner Bros. purchased the film rights to the first two novels for a seven-figure sum.A film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was released on 16 November 2001, and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on 15 November 2002.Both films were directed by Chris Columbus. 4 June 2004 saw the release of the film version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, directed by Alfonso Cuarón. The fourth film, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, was directed by another new director, Mike Newell, and released on 18 November 2005. The film of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was released on 11 July 2007.David Yates directed, and Michael Goldenberg wrote the screenplay, having taken over the position from Steve Kloves. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released on 15 July 2009.David Yates directed again, and Kloves returned to write the script.In March 2008, Warner Bros. announced that the final instalment of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, would be filmed in two segments, with part one being released in November 2010 and part two being released in July 2011. Yates would again return to direct both films.
Warner Bros took considerable notice of Rowling's desires and thoughts when drafting her contract. One of her principal stipulations was the films be shot in Britain with an all-British cast, which has been adhered to strictly.In an unprecedented move, Rowling also demanded that Coca-Cola, the victor in the race to tie in their products to the film series, donate $18 million to the American charity Reading is Fundamental, as well as a number of community charity programs.
The first four, sixth and seventh films were scripted by Steve Kloves; Rowling assisted him in the writing process, ensuring that his scripts did not contradict future books in the series. She has said that she told him more about the later books than anybody else (prior to their release), but not everything.She has also said that she told Alan Rickman (Severus Snape) and Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid) certain secrets about their characters before they were revealed in the books. Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter) asked her if Harry died at any point in the series; Rowling answered him by saying, "You have a death scene", thereby not explicitly answering the question. Director Steven Spielberg was approached to helm the first film, but dropped out. The press has repeatedly claimed that Rowling played a role in his departure, but Rowling stated that she has no say in who directs the films and would not have vetoed Spielberg if she had. Rowling's first choice for the director had been Monty Python member Terry Gilliam, as she is a fan of his work. However, Warner Bros. wanted a more family friendly film and eventually they chose Chris Columbus, who was set to direct all seven entries in the series.Columbus declined to direct the succeeding films to the second adaptation as he claimed he was "burned out".This led to directors Alfonso Cuarón, Mike Newell and David Yates to join the series. Cuarón and Newell helmed one film each, while Yates directed the final four entries.
Rowling had gained creative control on the films, approving all the scripts as well as acting as a producer on the final two-part instalment, Deathly Hallows.
On her website, Rowling revealed that she was considered to have a cameo in the first film as Lily Potter in the Mirror of Erised scene. Rowling, however, turned down the role, stating that she was not cut out to be an actor and, "would have messed it up somehow".The role ultimately went to Geraldine Somerville.
Rowling, producers David Heyman and David Barron, along with directors David Yates, Mike Newell and Alfonso Cuarón collected the Michael Balcon Award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema at the 2011 British Academy Film Awards in honour of the Harry Potter film franchise.

Life after Harry Potter

Forbes has named Rowling as the first person to become a U.S.-dollar billionaire by writing books,the second-richest female entertainer and the 1,062nd richest person in the world.When first listed as a billionaire by Forbes in 2004, Rowling disputed the calculations and said she had plenty of money, but was not a billionaire. In addition, the 2008 Sunday Times Rich List named Rowling the 144th richest person in Britain.In 2001, Rowling purchased a luxurious 19th-century estate house, Killiechassie House, on the banks of the River Tay, near Aberfeldy, in Perth and Kinross, Scotland. Rowling also owns a home in Edinburgh, and a £4.5 million ($9 million) Georgian house in Kensington, West London,on a street with 24-hour security.
On 26 December 2001, Rowling married Neil Michael Murray (born 30 June 1971), an anaesthetist, in a private ceremony at her Aberfeldy home. This was a second marriage for both Rowling and Murray, as Murray had previously been married to Dr. Fiona Duncan in 1996. Murray and Duncan separated in 1999 and divorced in the summer of 2001. Rowling's and Murray's son, David Gordon Rowling Murray, was born on 24 March 2003.Shortly after Rowling began writing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince she took a break from working on the novel to care for him in his early infancy.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.
Rowling is a close friend of Sarah Brown, wife of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, whom she met when they collaborated on a charitable project (see below). When Brown's son Fraser was born in 2003, Rowling was one of the first to visit her in the hospital.
Rowling has received honorary degrees from St Andrews University, the University of Edinburgh, Napier University, the University of Exeter,the University of Aberdeen and Harvard University, for whom she spoke at the 2008 commencement ceremony.In 2009 Rowling was awarded the Légion d'honneur by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Awards and honours

  • 1997: Nestlé Smarties Book Prize, Gold Award for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
  • 1998: Nestlé Smarties Book Prize, Gold Award for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • 1998: British Children's Book of the Year, winner Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
  • 1999: Nestlé Smarties Book Prize, Gold Award for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • 1999: National Book Awards Children's Book of the Year, winner Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  • 1999: Whitbread Children's Book of the Year, winner Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • 2000: British Book Awards, Author of the Year
  • 2000: Order of the British Empire, Officer
  • 2001: Hugo Award for Best Novel, winner Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  • 2003: Premio Príncipe de Asturias, Concord
  • 2003: Bram Stoker Award for Best Work for Young Readers, winner Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  • 2006: British Book of the Year, winner for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
  • 2007: Blue Peter Badge, Gold
  • 2008: British Book Awards, Outstanding Achievement
  • 2009: Légion d'honneur, presented by French President Nicolas Sarkozy
  • 2010: Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award, inaugural award winner
  • 2011: British Academy Film Awards, Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema for the Harry Potter film series, shared with David Heyman, cast and crew
  • Honorary degrees: St Andrews University, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University, University of Exeter, Harvard University

Publications

Harry Potter series

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (26 June 1997)
  2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2 July 1998)
  3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (8 July 1999)
  4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (8 July 2000)
  5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (21 June 2003)
  6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (16 July 2005)
  7. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (21 July 2007)

Other books

  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (supplement to the Harry Potter series) (2001)
  • Quidditch Through the Ages (supplement to the Harry Potter series) (2001)
  • The Tales of Beedle the Bard (supplement to the Harry Potter series) (2008)

Short story

  • Harry Potter prequel (July 2008)

Articles

  • Anelli, Melissa (2008). Foreword to Harry, A History: The True Story of a Boy Wizard, His Fans, and Life Inside the Harry Potter Phenomenon. Pocket Books.
  • Brown, Gordon (2006). Introduction to "Ending Child Poverty" in Moving Britain Forward. Selected Speeches 1997–2006. Bloomsbury.
  • McNeil, Gil and Brown, Sarah, editors (2002). Foreword to the anthology Magic. Bloomsbury.
  • Rowling, J.K. (2008, June 5). "The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination". Harvard Magazine.
  • Rowling, J.K. (2009, April 30). "Gordon Brown – The 2009 Time 100". Time Magazine.
  • Rowling, J.K. (2010, April 14). "The Single Mother's Manifesto". The Times.
  • Sussman, Peter Y., editor (2006, July 26). "The First It Girl: J.K. Rowling reviews Decca: the Letters of Jessica Mitford. The Daily Telegraph.

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