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J.K. Rowling Biography

Birth Name:
Joanne Rowling
Birth Place:
Yate, Gloucestershire, England

Fast Facts

  • The idea for Harry Potter popped into her head while on a crowded, delayed train from Manchester to London in 1990
  • Was advised by her publisher that boys would not read books by a woman, so she adopted her middle initial "K" from the name of her favorite grandparent, Kathleen
  • First daughter, Jessica, is named for Rowling's childhood heroine, the activist Jessica Mitford
  • Prefers to write in longhand
  • Awarded as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) by Queen Elizabeth II in 2001
  • In less than 10 years, went from a struggling writer to Forbes magazine's list of billionaires, a feat attained in 2004
  • Announced her first novel for adults, The Casual Vacancy, in 2012
  • Very active in many charities, including research for multiple sclerosis, of which her mother died in 1990 at age 45
  • Named a Companion of the Order of the Companions of Honour in the Queen's 2017 Birthday Honours


  • 2017BAFTA Film Awards-Outstanding British Film: nominated


  • Jessica -- Daughter
  • Mackenzie Jean Rowling Murray -- Daughter
  • Jorge Arantes -- Ex-husband
  • Peter Rowling -- Father
  • Kathleen -- Grandmother
  • Neil Murray -- Husband
  • Anne Rowling -- Mother
  • Dianne -- Sister
  • David Gordon Rowling Murray -- Son
  • Janet Rowling -- Stepmother