Today in History (1965): J.K. Rowling is born (and so is Harry Potter)


Joanne “Jo” Rowling, more popularly known by her pen name J.K. Rowling, the famed author of the Harry Potter fantasy series, celebrates her birthday today.

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Joanne was born to Peter James Rowling, a Rolls-Royce aircraft engineer and his wife Anne on July 31, 1965 in Yate, Gloucestershire, England. She wrote fantasy stories when she was still very little, and read them to her baby sister. English author journalist, and activist Jessica Mitford was one of her earlier inspirations, back when she was a teenager. In college she read for a BA in French and Classics at the University of Exter. She listened to The Smiths and The Clash, and read a good deal of Charles Dickens and JRR Tolkien.

The idea for Harry Potter came to her on a delayed train ride from Manchester to London in 1990. Several characters were based on people she met, and even herself. Hogwarts’ headmaster Albus Dumbledore is said to have been inspired by a headmaster she had in primary school. Ron Weasely is loosely based on one of own friends. Hermione is a reflection of her eleven-year old self.

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She used the name Joanne Rowling when published her own book but her publishers suggested that she use two of initials rather than her first name as a precautionary action to the possibility that her target audience of male adolescents might not want to consume a book that was written by a woman.

The Harry potter fantasy series have not only reaped literary awards, become the best-selling books in history, and the basis for top-grossing films; it has also become a life-changing facet of J.K. Rowling’s life. A period of adversity shadowed that the idea-forming train ride in 1990. The following events happened during the next seven years: the death of her mother, divorce from her first husband, and financial complications, until she finished Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (title later changed to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) in 1997. She has since published six sequels, other children’s as well as adult books, garnered a montage of literary awards, and become a billionaire and philanthropist.

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Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy to finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one area where I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter, and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.
– J. K. Rowling, “The fringe benefits of failure” 2008

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Today is also Harry Potter’s birthday. Let us all levitate in celebration of Harry and J.K. Rowling’s birthday. Wingardium Leviosa!

Information for this article was sourced from Wikipedia

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written by jillytanrad on 2013-07-31 #lifestyle #history #harry-potter #today-in-history #j-k-rowling

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