These days, Harry Potter is a household name, but the story of J.K. Rowling, the creative mind behind the magical adventure, is just as riveting. Full of obstacles and difficulties, Rowling’s life story has not been an easy one. And yet, whatever your opinions may be on Harry Potter, it’s impossible to deny the incredible popularity of the series that catapulted her to fame and fortune.
J.K. Rowling’s Background
J.K. Rowling is one of the wealthiest women in Great Britain having a net worth of 650 million. Forbes ranked her as one of the most powerful celebrities and in 2007, she made runner-up for Person of the Year.
Rowling also has an impressive following of fans and her influence reaches far and wide as readers discover the magic of Harry Potter. Many see her as an inspiration and role model. Rowling has even been called one of the most influential women in Britain.
Rowling had a rocky start as an author. A failed marriage with Portuguese TV journalist Jorge Arantes meant she had no steady income to support herself and her daughter, Jessica.
Hoping for a better life, she moved to Edinburgh to be close to her sister. However, her recent split left her with severe depression and at one point Rowling even considered suicide.
Wanting to turn things around, Rowling applied for a teaching position but found out she had to study full time for a postgraduate certification. With help from state welfare, she scraped by as she worked on her studies and her writing. Slowly, Rowling managed to get her life back on track.
History of Harry Potter
Inspiration came to Rowling in 1990, while she was on a train ride from Manchester to London. She wrote in various cafes, including Nicolson’s cafe, a spot that later became popular with fans.
The manuscript of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was written entirely on a manual typewriter and the final draft was completed in 1995. Finishing the book, however, was just the first challenge the budding author had to face.
Harry Potter and the Quest for a Publisher
The first three chapters of her book were read by Bryony Evens, who saw the potential in the story immediately. He convinced Christopher Little Literary Agents to represent Rowling as she searched for a publishing house.
The journey wasn’t easy. Twelve different publishers rejected the book before an eight-year-old girl changed everything. Barry Cunningham, an owner of a tiny publishing company, agreed to take on Rowling’s novel after his daughter read the first few pages and wanted to hear the rest of the story.
J.K. Rowling’s Life was finally headed in the right direction. The Scottish Arts Council sent her several grants and her popularity continued to grow as more and more children picked up her books. She could now focus on continuing Harry’s journey through subsequent novels.
Harry Potter’s Popularity
The Harry Potter series was on fire. After receiving the Smarties Prize an amazing three times in a row, Rowling decided to pull the book from the contest so other books could stand out.
Now released in both the U.S. and U.K., the third book Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban sold 300,000 copies over a year while the fourth installment, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire sold 300,000 copies in only one day.
The huge success of her books led to a movie series which propelled Rowling to new levels of fame.
From Rags to Riches
J.K. Rowling is perhaps the best example of a real-life protagonist. She started out at rock bottom, but as she famously quotes, “Rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.” Her story has inspired many of her fans and helped to bring more magic into the world.