JK Rowling

JK Rowling portrait image to appear alongside the JK Rowling biography.

Joanne Rowling, better known and indeed, EXTREMELY well known around the world as JK Rowling was born in the town of Yate, South Gloucestershire in 1965. She is the most successful literary author of all time and her world-famous Harry Potter series has so far sold a staggering 400,000,000 copies worldwide and has been translated into over sixty five different languages.

JK Rowling went to the University of Exeter where she studied French and the Classics. After leaving university she worked for Amnesty International in London as a researcher and bilingual secretary.

JK Rowling has written fiction since a child, and always wanted to be an author. Her parents loved reading, and their house in Chepstow was full of books. In fact, JK Rowling wrote her first 'book' at the age of six - a story about a rabbit called Rabbit.

The idea for Harry Potter occured to JK Rowling on the train from Manchester to London, where she says Harry Potter "just strolled into my head fully formed", and by the time she had arrived at King's Cross, many of the characters had taken shape. During the next five years she outlined the plots for each book and began writing the first in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, which was first published by Bloomsbury in 1997.

"It's the flogged horse school of writing. The thing about the 600 words, I mean some day, you can do a very, very, very hard day's work and not write a word, just revising, or you would scribble a few words."
JK Rowling when asked by Jeremy Paxman about whether she wrote until exhaustion stopped her.

Rowling is a great donator to charity and in the future she intends to publish a Harry Potter encyclopedia with all profits going to charity. Coca-Cola were forced to give $18m to the American charity Reading is Fundamental in return for being allowed to rights to the movie tie-ins.

JK Rowling has also written two other companion books, Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, in aid of Comic Relief.

JK Rowling awards

  • Nestle Smarties Book Prize (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone)
  • Children's Book of the Year - British Book Awards (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone)
  • Children's Book Award (Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone)
  • JK Rowling has won the Hugo, Bram Stoker and Whitebread awards for the Harry Potter series.

JK Rowling records

  • Last 3 volumes of the Harry Potter series have been the fastest selling books in history.
  • Book 6 (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince is the fastest selling book ever.
  • JK Rowling is the first person to win the Smarties Prize for literature 3 years in a row.
  • In the USA, each Harry Potter book reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller list.

JK Rowling influences

  • Jane Austen - Rowling's all time favourite writer
  • Paul Gallico - writer of Manxmouse
  • C.S. Lewis - the Narnia Chronicles
  • Noel Streatfield

JK Rowling books reviewed


  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (1997)
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998)
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999)
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000)
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003)
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2005)
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007)

Critical acclaim

"And you though wizardry was for children. Harry Potter will make you think again. He casts his spells on grown-ups too" James Naughtie

"Full of surprises and jokes; comparisons with Dahl are, this time, justified" Sunday Times