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J.K. Rowling, in full Joanne Kathleen Rowling, (born July 31, 1965, Yate, near Bristol, England), British author, creator of the popular and critically acclaimed Harry Potter series, about a young sorcerer in training. After graduating from the University of Exeter in 1986, Rowling began working for Amnesty International in London, where she started to write the Harry Potter adventures. In the early 1990s she traveled to Portugal to teach English as a foreign language, but, after a brief marriage and the birth of her daughter, she returned to the United Kingdom, settling in Edinburgh. Living on public assistance between stints as a French teacher, she continued to write.
The first manuscript of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was produced by Rowling while sitting in small cafes around Edinburgh. She lived here with her daughter, and they survived off of government benefits. Excited about the work, Rowling bound it up into a folder and sent it off to a publishing agent whom she believed could bring it to the rest of the world. Rowling tells of how she was sent back nothing but a slip that read that the agent’s list was full and they were not interested in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
Rowling became a mother at the age of 25 whilst involved in a very short-lived and unhappy marriage; or in her words, “catastrophic”. Her circumstances plunged her into deep clinical depression for a few years, while she fought for her daughter’s survival, obtaining only the bare minimum from government benefits.
To her, there is no greater treasure than a charm bracelet holding memories from district times in one’s life. She believes they are one of the most personal and profound collections a person can gather during their lives, and she herself had one for many years that she built up over time. One night while living in Manchester in northwestern England, her home was broken into and the thief took her beloved charm bracelet along with him. She regards it as one of the most signifiant losses of her life; in no way on par with the loss of a human being, but significant enough to feel devastation at the loss of great parts of her past.
J.K. Rowling’s actual name is Joanne Rowling. Using initials instead of her full name was a strategic decision on part of the publishers; they believed that a gender neutral name would make male readers more inclined to pick up the books.
Rowling’s career didn’t stop with the final Harry Potter book. She has just released her latest work: Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination. When she’s not writing, Rowling is avidly involved in charity work around the world. She single handedly created two philanthropic initiatives that seek to improve the lives of thousands of people.
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