Joanne Rowling is one of the most famous writers of the modern time. She has gifted us a series of books about the wizard boy named Harry Potter, which almost instantly became popular in every corner of our planet. The imagination of this talented British woman has created the whole world that became so dear to the hearts of millions of fantasy fans.

Some of us can retell the whole parts of the Harry Potter books, but what do we really know about the writer who has built this magical world? It seems that Joanne has not yet got used to the popularity and the attention. She rarely gives big interviews or appears in public. However, such a lifestyle only makes the writer more attractive and interesting.

Joanne Rowling reading the Harry Potter book

Joanne Rowling reading the Harry Potter book

Joanne Rowling Early Childhood

The future writer, Joanne Rowling, was born in a little town called Yate in England. Her father, Peter James Rowling worked as an aircraft engineer for Rolls-Royce. Anne Rowling, Joanne’s mother, was a science technician. Her sister Dianne is another close and dear person to Joanne.

From a very young age, Joanne wanted to become a writer. Even as a child she loved making up interesting stories. One of such tales was a story about a rabbit called Rabbit who was suffering from measles and visited by his friends including Miss Bee.

Due to the fact that the Rowling family was moving a lot, Joanne and Dianne did not have a chance to make a lot of friends. Therefore girls spent all their free time together and were very close.

When Joanne was nine years old, her family settled in the village of Tutshill in Wales. At that time, she was a quiet girl whose favorite subject in school was English. She still loved telling stories to her friends. In fact, in these stories, Joanne pictured them doing heroic things that they would’ve never done in real life.

A stone house with a fence

Rowling’s childhood home, Tutshill

However, Joanne Rowling does not describe her teenage years as happy. Her mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and relationship with her father were very strained. Joanne later mentioned that she used her teenage emotions and character, to describe Hermione Granger.

Joanne Rowling


After high school, Joanne Rowling continued her education at the University of Exeter, where she dived into studying French and Classics. Her parents were ensured that, knowing two languages will help their daughter make a career as a secretary. But we now know that this path wasn’t meant for Joanne.

The future writer spent some time in Paris where she continued to improve her French. Then, she returned to London and started working as a secretary in one of the departments of Amnesty International.

Personal Life and the First Chapters of Harry Potter

In 1990 Joanne Rowling left Amnesty International and decided to move to Manchester with her boyfriend. For some reason, the train was delayed for four hours. This was a turning point in Joanne’s life. The idea of a story about a young wizard boy came into her mind. She clearly imagined the concept of the novel starting with Harry Potter, who was later joined by other characters. Joanne decided to immediately start writing upon arriving home and that’s when the first chapters of the cult series were created. 

Rowling has been already writing about Harry Potter when her mother died after years of suffering from multiple sclerosis. Mother’s death has greatly affected Joanne. She translated her emotions describing Harry’s feelings of loss in the first book of the series.

The following parts of the book were written in Portugal, where Joanne moved to teach English. In Portu, she met Portuguese journalist Jorge Arantes, who in 1992 became her husband. In 1993 the couple had a daughter Jessica Isabel Rowling Arantes.

Unfortunately, the Anglo-Portuguese relationship did not work out and thirteen months after the wedding the couple broke up. According to some biographers, Joanne suffered from domestic abuse in her marriage, however, this information is not confirmed.

Light color buildings near the body of water

Parts of the first Harry Potter book were written in Porto

In 1993 Joanne moved to Edinburgh, where her younger sister Dianne lived. At this point, Joanne Rowling was facing depression, psychological trauma and lack of work. She was a single parent living on welfare benefits and hiding from the ex-husband who wanted to take her daughter away. Later, Joanne told journalists that this state of an absolute hopelessness inspired her to create the image of soul-sucking Dementors.

The Success of Harry Potter

In 1995 Joanne Rowling finished the first Harry Potter book. She sent it to all major publishing houses in England and was denied 12 times. Finally, one year later Bloomsbury decided to publish the book. The Bloomsbury’s chairman has actually given the first chapter of the Harry Potter book to his eight-year-old daughter who was thrilled about the story and demanded to read the rest of it. 

The Bloomsbury publishers believed that the boys, who were the target audience of the book, would not be interested in the story written by a woman. Therefore, the book was published under the pen name J. K. Rowling.

The first book “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” was published in 1997 with a print of only 1000 copies. It was repeatedly recognized as the best children’s book in the UK including, winning a very prestigious Nestlé Smarties Book Prize.

Very soon Joanne Rowling was able to really feel the success. The first book was followed by other novels about the adventures of Harry Potter and his friends. The books were sold millions of copies, while Joanne’s net worth added several zeroes. The UK and then the rest of the world were caught up in a euphoria associated with the name of Harry Potter, which became even stronger after the release of the movie series.

Harry Potter books written by Joanne Rowling

Financial Success, Remarriage and Philanthropy

In 2004 Joanne Rowling became the first US-dollar billionaire who has achieved success by writing books. Around that period, her personal life has also taken a better course. In 2001 she married an anesthetist Neil Murray.  The couple has a son David Gordon and a daughter Mackenzie Jean to whom Rowling dedicated the sixth book about Harry Potter.

In addition to seven Harry Potter books, Joanne has written several other fantasy novels related to the magical world. All the royalties from the books “Quidditch Through the Ages” and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” were sent to Comic Relief.

Nowadays, Joanne Rowling is actively involved in charity addressing such issues as poverty, social inequality as well as helping single families and funding multiple sclerosis research.