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J. K. Rowling

Joanne Rowling (born July 31, 1965) is the British author of the internationally famous series of children's fantasy stories concerning the exploits of the boy wizard Harry Potter. She is said to be the richest woman in the United Kingdom (even richer than Queen Elizabeth II).

As her publisher, Bloomsbury, wanted to use initials on the cover of the Harry Potter books (suggesting that if they put an obviously female name on the cover, young boys might be reluctant to buy them), Rowling chose to adopt her grandmother's middle name of "Kathleen".

Table of contents
1 Career
2 Lawsuits
3 Family
4 External links


Rowling wrote two novels for adults (neither of which sold) before she had the idea for Harry Potter during a four-hour train trip. According to her, by the time she reached her destination she had the characters and a good part of the plot for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in her head. She started writing during her lunch hours, and continued working on the manuscript throughout a stint in Portugal teaching English as a second language. The book was completed in Edinburgh after her marriage to Portuguese TV journalist Jorge Arantes failed and she returned to the UK with her infant daughter. The book was a huge success, and she has so far had four sequels published. The sales made her a multi-millionaire, and in 2001 she used the proceeds to buy a luxurious 19th century mansion on the banks of the River Tay in the Scottish county of Perthshire.

The Harry Potter series is expected to run to seven volumes, one for each year Harry spends in school. Five of these have already been published. The fifth book, titled Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, was delayed by an unsuccessful plagiarism suit directed towards her by rival author Nancy Stouffer (see below). The book was released on June 21, 2003.

The Harry Potter books:

Harry Potter-related books: The last two purport to be facsimiles of books mentioned in the novels. Fantastic Beasts is a textbook, while Quidditch is probably the most popular book in the Hogwarts library. They are complete with handwritten annotations and scribblings in the margins, and include introductions by Albus Dumbledore. All proceeds from them go to the UK Comic Relief charity.

A film of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (titled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone only in the USA), directed by Chris Columbus, was released in late 2001. Each scene with a mention of the title stone was filmed twice, once for the USA release with sorcerer and once for world release with philosopher. Historically, the magical stone that will change lead to gold was always called the philosopher's stone.

The film version of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, also directed by Chris Columbus, was released in 2002, and starred largely the same set of actors.

Rowling resisted suggestions by the filmmakers that the movie be set in the United States or cast with American actors (only one American appears in the first film). She only reluctantly went along with the change from philosopher's stone to sorcerer's stone, and limited it to the US only.

Rowling assists Steve Kloves in writing the scripts for the films, ensuring that his scripts do not contradict future books in the series. She says she has told him more about the later books than anybody else, but not everything. She has also revealed that she has told Alan Rickman and Robbie Coltrane secrets about their charactors, that have not been revealed in the books yet.


Rowling, her American publisher, Scholastic Press, and Warner Bros were sued in 2001 by Nancy Stouffer, author of The Legend of Rah and the Muggles, featuring Larry Potter, alleging trademark and copyright infringement. When the case finally came to court, in September 2002, it was dismissed by the court on the grounds that Stouffer had lied to the court and falsified documents to support her case. Stouffer was fined $50,000 and ordered to pay part of the defendants' costs.

In June of 2003, Rowling announced that she would sue the New York Daily News for $100 million because the newspaper had printed excerpts from her work Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix before the book's official release date.

Although the chance of a lawsuit is unlikely, comic book fans have noted that an earlier comic book series by Neil Gaiman, The Books of Magic, contains many similarities to Harry Potter.


Rowling used to be married to Portuguese TV journalist Jorge Arantes, and they had one child, a daughter named Jessica (born c. 1994), before their divorce.

On December 26, 2001, Rowling married Dr. Neil Murray, in a private ceremony at her home in the Perthshire village of Aberfeldy. On March 23, 2003, Rowling gave birth to her second child, a boy called David Gordon Rowling Murray. The birth took place at the Simpson Centre for Reproductive Health at the New Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh.

External links