Skip to main content

J K Rowling Fast Facts

By CNN Library
updated 9:22 AM EDT, Sat July 5, 2014

(CNN) -- Here is a look at the life of J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter book series.

Personal:
Birth date: July 31, 1965

Birth place: Gloucestershire, England

Birth name: Joanne Rowling

Father: Peter Rowling, aircraft factory manager

Mother: Anne (Volant) Rowling, lab technician

Marriages: Neil Murray (December 26, 2001-present); Jorge Arantes (1992-1995, divorced)

Children: with Murray: Mackenzie Jean, January 23, 2005; David Gordon, March 24, 2003; with Arantes: Jessica, July 27, 1993

Education: University of Exeter, B.A. in French and the Classics, 1986; Moray House School of Education at The University of Edinburgh, 1995-1996, received a postgraduate certificate in modern languages.

Other Facts:
Born Joanne Rowling (pronounced roll-ing), she has said that her publishers wanted another initial so she gave herself the middle name Kathleen, after her paternal grandmother.

J.K. Rowling is now one of the richest women in the United Kingdom.

The Harry Potter movies were nominated for 12 Academy Awards.

Timeline:
1971 - Writes her first book, "Rabbit," at age six.

1987 - Works as a human rights researcher for Amnesty International.

1990 - Comes up with the idea for Harry Potter on a train ride from Manchester to London.

1991-1993 - Teaches English in Portugal.

1994 - On public assistance and living in Edinburgh, Scotland, she writes "Harry Potter and the Philosophers' Stone" in coffeehouses while her daughter naps.

July 1997 - "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" (UK title) first printing.

September 1998 - "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" (U.S. title) first printing.

June 2, 1999 - The second book in the series, "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets," is released in the United States. It was published in the United Kingdom on July 2, 1998.

September 9, 1999 - The third book, "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," is published in the United States. It was released in the UK on July 8, 1999.

1999 - Scholastic, the American publisher of the Harry Potter series, is sued by Nancy Stouffer on grounds of trademark infringement. Stouffer claims elements from the Harry Potter series were taken from her 1984 book "The Legend of Rah and the Muggles."

July 8, 2000 - "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire," the fourth book in the series is published simultaneously in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Australia.

March 2, 2001 - Is awarded an Order of the British Empire (OBE) by H.R.H. Prince Charles.

March 2001 - Rowling releases "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" and "Quidditch Through the Ages," two books that appear in the Harry Potter series. The proceeds of more than £17 million are donated to the charity Comic Relief.

November 2001 - The first film, "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," opens.

2002 - Tops a British survey as the richest woman in Britain, having made more than £48 million in 2001.

2002 - The 1999 lawsuit against Scholastic is dismissed when the judge rules that Nancy Stouffer "perpetrated a fraud" on the court.

June 21, 2003 - "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix," the fifth book in the series is published.

2004 - Forbes estimates Rowling's worth at $1 billion, making her the first billion-dollar author.

July 16, 2005 - The sixth book, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince," is released.

September 6, 2005 - Unveiling of J.K. Rowling's official portrait for the National Portrait Gallery of London.

July 21, 2007 - The seventh and final book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," is released and sells 8.3 million copies in the United States in its first 24 hours.

October 2007 - Along with Warner Brothers, sues publishing house RDR Books for copyright infringement regarding the Harry Potter brand. RDR is planning to release an encyclopedia of the seven Harry Potter books. Rowling is planning her own book of the same nature with the proceeds to go to charity.

June 5, 2008 - Delivers the commencement address at Harvard University and also receives an honorary degree.

September 8, 2008 - Wins lawsuit against RDR Books' Steven Jan Vander Ark, the author of a lexicon of the world of Harry Potter. The judgment blocks publication and awards damages of $6,750.

September 20, 2008 - Announces she donated £1 million to the Labour Party.

January 16, 2009 - Vander Ark's rewritten and renamed book, "The Lexicon: An Unauthorized Guide to Harry Potter Fiction and Related Materials," is released. This book is supposed to be a complete reference work for all seven Harry Potter novels.

February 2009 - French President Nicolas Sarkozy presents the Legion of Honor award to Rowling.

June 2009 - Rowling and her British publisher, Bloomsbury, are named in a lawsuit filed in London when relatives for the estate of writer Adrian Jacobs, who died in 1997, claim Rowling plagiarized her fourth book "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" and other material from Jacobs' 1987 book "The Adventures of Willy the Wizard."

2010 - Donates £10 million for a research clinic at The University of Edinburgh. The Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic is named after Rowling's mother, who died in 1990 from complications related to multiple sclerosis.

June 18, 2010 - Grand opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.

July 2010 - The heirs of Adrian Jacobs extend the lawsuit to include Scholastic, the American publishers of "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire."

October 1, 2010 - In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Rowling says she hasn't ruled out adding a few new titles to the Harry Potter book series.

November 19, 2010 - The movie "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1" opens in the UK and the United States. Rowling is listed as a producer.

January 2011 - A federal judge in New York dismisses the U.S. plagiarism case filed by the relatives of Adrian Jacobs.

June 23, 2011 - Via YouTube Rowling announces a new project, a website, Pottermore.com, that will be an "online reading experience like no other." - part digital interactive playground and part e-store where the entire series will be available as e-books for the first time.

July 15, 2011 - The final movie in the series, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2," opens in the United States and the UK. Rowling is credited as a producer.

July 2011 - The British plagiarism lawsuit filed by the relatives of Adrian Jacobs ends after the claimants fail to pay the mandated security amount.

November 24, 2011 - Testifies before the Leveson Inquiry regarding journalistic standards in the UK. In her testimony she reviews parts of her 33 page statement given November 2, where she states that some members of the British journalism community engage in, "...behaviour that is illegal, and I think unjustifiably intrusive."

April 16, 2012 - Pottermore.com goes live. Rowling announces she's writing a Harry Potter encyclopedia with the proceeds to be donated to charity.

May 8, 2012 - Rowling is granted the Freedom of the City of London, one of the oldest traditional ceremonies.

September 27, 2012 - Releases new book, "The Casual Vacancy," her first novel specifically geared toward adults.

July 14, 2013 - In a statement to the media Rowling reveals 'The Cuckoo's Calling", a crime novel by Robert Galbraith released in April 2013, was really written by her.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT