J.K. Rowling came to prominence for creating the Harry Potter fantasy series, one of the world’s most famous books and film series in history.
1. Facts about J.K. Rowling
Joanne Rowling, or J.K. Rowling, is a British author, screenwriter, and film producer who skyrocketed to fame for writing the seven-book Harry Potter series, which has sold beyond 500 million copies and was adapted into a film franchise. Her pen name, J.K., came from her first name, Joanne, and her grandmother’s name, Kathleen, since she does not have a middle name. She earned her college degree from the University of Exeter, and in 1990, she moved to Portugal to teach English. There, she met the Portuguese journalist Jorge Arantes, whom she later married and welcomed their daughter, Jessica, in 1993. When her marriage didn’t work out, Rowling and her daughter moved to Edinburgh to live near her sister, Di.
Rowling struggled to make ends meet to support her daughter, so she worked on her first book. The Harry Potter idea occurred to her while she was on a train to London in the early ’90s.
2. Her World-Famous Books
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Rowling faced rejection a couple of times and had money management problems before finally selling her first book for the equivalent of nearly $4,000. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone hit the shelves in 1997. The word “Philosopher,” however, was changed to “Sorcerer” when it was published in the U.S.
The book was the beginning of a seven-book series chronicling Harry Potter’s life and his journey at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
- Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
The second book in the series came out in July 1998.
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
The third book hit the shelves in July 1999. By the next summer, the first three books had earned an estimated amount of $480 million in just three years, with more than 35 million copies printed in 35 languages.
- Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Culminated in July 2000, the fourth volume became the fastest-selling book in just 24 hours. The book had its first printing of over 5 million copies and advance book orders of more than 1.8 million. Around this time, Rowling’s credit score kept soaring high.
- Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Rowling’s fifth installment hit the bookstores in June 2003.
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
The sixth volume sold 6.9 million copies in the U.S. in its first 24 hours. It was the biggest opening ever in publishing history.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Before its July 2007 release, the seventh installment in the Harry Potter series was the largest pre-ordered book at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and Borders bookstores. This book was Rowling’s final investment in the series, and she has claimed that she has no plans to write more Harry Potter books.
- The Tales of Beedle the Bard
This compilation of five fables was mentioned in the Harry Potter series and was released on December 4, 2008, at the National Library of Scotland.
- The Casual Vacancy
This book is Rowling’s first work aimed at adults. Published in September 2012, the dark comedy novel received mixed reviews.
- Cuckoo Calling, Career of Evil, The Silkworm, and Lethal White
In April 2013, the famed author embarked on a new genre: crime fiction. She published four novels under the pseudonym, Robert Galbraith. She said it has been “a liberating experience” having to write under a new moniker.
- Very Good Lives
Rowling had a commencement speech at Harvard in 2008, where she received an honorary degree. Her speech was published in book form in April 2015. Very Good Lives is a self-improvement book that offers advice and personal anecdotes on embracing failure and using the imagination to succeed.
- Harry Potter: A History of Magic
Rowling continued to bring electricity in the world of literature as she published two new books in 2017— one is an adult version, and the other, a kid-friendly version. She created Harry Potter: A History of Magic to mark the 20th anniversary of her first novel’s publication.
The books feature original illustrations, manuscripts, and an exploration of all the Harry Potter characters.