Facts about JK Rowling you probably did not know:

Joanne Rowling, writing under the pen names J. K. Rowling and Robert Galbraith, is a British novelist, screenwriter, and producer who is best known for writing the Harry Potter fantasy series. The books have won multiple awards and sold more than 400 million copies. They have become the best-selling book series in history and been the basis for a series of films, over which Rowling had overall approval on the scripts and was a producer on the final films in the series.

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  • She wrote her first story – called Rabbit– age six and wrote her first novel at age 11. It was about “seven cursed diamonds and the people who owned them”.
  • She applied to study at Oxford, but was rejected, and instead studied French at the University of Exeter. She said she did “no work whatsoever” while she was at university.

  • Her first Harry Potter manuscript was rejected by 12 publishers before Bloomsbury picked it up.
  • The first print run of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was a mere 1,000 copies.
  • Her eldest daughter, Jessica, is named after Jessica Mitford, who was an author, investigative journalist, and civil rights activist.
  • It took her five years to plan all seven books in the Harry Potter Most of her plans were written by hand on odd scraps of paper.
  • She has described Hermione as a combination of herself and her younger sister, Dianne: “that sort of annoying person who underneath is very insecure”.
  • In 2003, her father sold a first edition copy of Goblet of Fire –which included a handwritten inscription reading “lots of love from your first born” – at auction for £27,500. They had stopped speaking earlier that year.
  • Her favourite chapter from the entire Harry Potter series is Chapter 34 of Deathly Hallows, “The Forest Again”. Her favourite from the first book is “The Mirror of Erised”.

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  • She once bought an expensive pair of earrings but felt guilty afterwards for spending the money, so wrote a cheque for the same amount to give to charity.
  • In 2013, she donated £10 million to help open the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic at the University of Edinburgh. The clinic is named after her mother, who had multiple sclerosis.
  • She was once invited to visit South Africa by Nelson Mandela but had to negotiate because she was pregnant.

  • Only one Harry Potter character is named after a real person — Natalie McDonald, who was a young Canadian girl who wrote to Rowling shortly before she died of cancer.
  • Rowling has over 14 million Twitter followers. She regularly communicates with fans and even gets into arguments over comments or behavior she disagrees with.
  • Rowling and her second husband, Dr. Neil Murray, live in Edinburgh with their children. They were married on December 26, 2001.
  • Rowling has created a detective series novel under the pen name Robert Galbrait.

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  • In her late 20’s, struggling as an underemployed single mom after a failed marriage, Rowling went through a period of clinical depression. Her experiences with this later inspired her descriptions of the soul-stealing Dementors introduced in the third Potter book.


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