Home Celebrities 31 Utterly Amazing Facts About J.K. Rowling You Probably Didn’t Know

31 Utterly Amazing Facts About J.K. Rowling You Probably Didn’t Know


J.K. Rowling, with her magical Harry Potter universe, captured the hearts of millions of people of all age groups. Her story of rags to riches has helped changed the world for better, and has also paved way for imaginations to run wild. Here are some really fascinating things to know about the author:

  1. Though she was born Joanne Rowling, on July 31, 1965, she goes by her pen name J.K. Rowling, the British author and screenwriter. She was asked by her publishers to use two initials rather than her full name to target universal readership, with ‘K’ denoting her paternal grandmother, Kathleen.
  2. As the eldest of two children to Anne Rowling, a lab technician and Peter James Rowling, a Rolls Royce aircraft engineer, she attended St. Michael’s Primary School, and Wyedean School. She later earned her Bachelor of Arts in French and Classical Studies at the University of Exeter in 1986.
  3. Although she calls herself ‘Jo,’ she sometimes uses the name Joanne Murray, following her marriage to Neil Murray on December 26, 2001. They are blessed with a son, David Gordon Rowling Murray, born on March 24, 2003 and Mackenzie Jean Rowling, born in 2005.
  4. She took up variety of temporary jobs including posts with Amnesty International and the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, for a very brief period. She then moved to Porto, Portugal, to teach English as a foreign language at the Encounter English School, between 5pm and 10pm.
  5. In summer of 1990, while commuting from Manchester to London by train, Rowling conceived the story line for Harry Potter book series with the tale of the 11-year old orphan boy with the powers of a wizard.
  6. Her mother, Anne Rowling, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis passed away on December 30, 1990 and her father’s decision to move in with his secretary, Janet Gallivan, distressed her and they separated.
  7. On October 16, 1992, she married Jane Austen and their daughter Jessica Isabel Rowling Arantes, was born on July 27, 1993. The marriage didn’t last long after endless domestic violence, the couple separated on November 17, 1993.
  8. Train run through her life with time-tabled frequency. Her parents met on a train, the idea for Harry Potter was first conceived on a train and after a broken marriage she and her daughter took a train to Scotland for a new life.
  9. Staying in a small flat at 28, Gardner’s Crescent on a weekly allowance of 69,Rowling spent her days in many cafes including Nicolson’s and Elephant House sipping strong coffee contemplating her first novel while her daughter slept in a pushchair at her side.
  10. In August 1995, she began a teacher training course at the Moray House School of Education, at Edinburgh University, to support herself. As part of her course, she taught at St. David’s High School on Dalkeith Road and Leith Academy and graduated in June 1996.
  11. After being rejected by as many as 13 publishers including Harper Collins, her first Harry Potter series ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,’ was published by Bloomsbury Publishing Company Ltd, London, on June 26, 1997 for an advance of £1,500.
  12. The editor, Barry Cunningham of Bloomsbury, advised her to get a day job as he saw very little money in children’s books. However, in 1997, she received a boost when Scottish Arts Council awarded her a grant of £8,000 to help her write Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
  13. She won the much coveted ‘Nestle Smarties Book Prize, Gold Award,’ three times in a row before withdrawing to give other writers a fighting chance. She also won the British Book Award for Children’s Book of the Year 1998.
  14. Rowling said she nearly died when the Scholastic Corporation, paid US$105,000, for the publishing right of her book in U.S. and published under the title of ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.’
  15. In 2000, Rowling was awarded ‘Officers of the Order of the British Empire,’ for her service to Children’s Literature in the Queen’s Birthday Honors List. She also won the British Book Award as ‘Author of the Year.’
  16. She went on to release seven Harry Potter books series between 1997 and 2007, totaling 4,195 pages and translated, in whole or in part, into 65 languages. It has become a global brand worth an estimated US$15 billion.
  17. The third book in the series, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, published on July 8, 1999, won the inaugural ‘Whitbread Children’s Book of the Year Award,’ in January 2000.
  18. The fourth book in the series, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, released on July 8, 2000, made record sales in the UK and US. In United States it broke all records then with a sale of 3 million copies in its first 48 hours.
  19. The sixth of Rowling’s fantasy series Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, released on July 16, 2005, achieved platinum in less than one day, when it sold about 9 million copies in Britain and the United States in its first 24 hours. It was awarded the ‘Book of the Year,’ prize at the British Book Awards.
  20. The books have made her a multi-millionaire and she used her wealth to establish herself as a notable philanthropist. In 2000, she founded the ‘Volant Charitable Trust,’ with input of£5.1 million annually to help women and children. She is also the president of the charity ‘One Parent Families,’ now called ‘Gingerbread.’
  21. The Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, released on July 21, 2007, sold 11 million copies in the first day of release in UK and US, to break its predecessor’s record as the fastest-selling book of all time. It was published simultaneously in more than 90 countries.
  22. In 1998, Warner Bros, purchased the film rights for the first two novels and subsequently the complete book series was filmed. She had stipulated that the films be shot in Britain with an all-British cast and that Coca-Cola, the tie-in product to the film series donate US$ 18 million to the American charity ‘Reading Is Fundamental.’
  23. Rowling had stated that she had not vetoed Spielberg, contradicting the press claim, though her first choice for the director had been Terry Gilliam. Warner Bros chose Chris Columbus, for the first two versions with Alfonso Cuaron, Mike Newell and David Yates, directing the subsequent versions.
  24. She produced and wrote the screenplay for the film version of Harry Potter supplementary book ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.’ The first film was released in November 2016 and the second, ‘Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald,’ was released in November 2018.
  25. In 2004, Forbes named her as one of only five self-made female billionaires, and the first billion-dollar author in United States. Rowling disputed the calculations and in 2012, Forbes removed Rowling from their rich list citing high tax rate in UK and her charitable work.
  26. Rowling’s next novel ‘The Casual Vacancy,’ targeting the adult readership was published on September 27, 2012 and sold over 1 million worldwide. The book was adopted by BBC into a television drama miniseries and aired in 2015.
  27. In April 2013, she published a detective story ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling,’ under an alias name Robert Galbraith, which sold around 500 copies. Within days of Rowling being revealed as the author, sales of the book rose by 4,000%, and were being offered $6,188.
  28. Rowling has received honorary degree from St. Andrews University, the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University, the University of Exeter, the University of Aberdeen, and Harvard University.
  29. In 2009, French President Nicolas Sarkozy bestowed Rowling with the honorary title of ‘knight’ in the legion during a ceremony in a gilded hall in the Elysee presidential palace.
  30. Her favorite drink is gin and tonic, her least favorite food tripe. Her heroine is Jessica Mitford and her favorite author is Jane Austen. Her books are largely about death.
  31. K. Rowling Net Worth: $1 Billion
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