Everyone knows who J.K. Rowling is. She is the writer who created Harry Potter and the school of witches and wizards that we all dreamt and wished were real. Although we might already know a great deal about our favorite author, there are some facts and secrets that she has hidden from the world and we are here to unveil them. Potterists, here we go!
Her real name
J.K. Rowling’s original name is Joanne Rowling, and the “K” stands for the initial of her grandmother’s name, Kathleen, as she didn’t have a middle name of her own. After being rejected by 12 publishers, she was accepted by Bloomsbury and they are the ones who suggested she not use her original name. This is because they believed that people would be less likely buy books about a boy in a magic school that was written by a woman. In the beginning, they printed just 1,000 copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
She was a single mom, barely making ends meet when she started writing the Harry Potter series. The soul-sucking dementors are based on her own time when she was experiencing a hard time. She has made other personal connections within her books, including that she and Harry share the same birthday, July 31st. In 1982, she took the entrance exam for Oxford, but was rejected and studied French at Exeter University instead. In 2008, she received an honorary degree from Harvard.
Rowling said that the character of Hermione is based on her own 11-year-old self as she always loved books. Rowling has been writing for her family since she was 6 years old. Her parents actually met on a train at King’s Cross Station, and all the Harry Potter fans know the importance of the station as it is the location of the gateway to Hogwarts. Also, she had a guest appearance on the Simpsons in 2003.
She has done a lot of charitable work. During her initial days of writing, she worked as a Franco Thorpe Africa Researcher. She has donated millions of dollars to various charities, and was granted the Freedom of the City of London, an honor that is only ever granted to royalty or the Head of State, on May 8, 2012. In March 2015 she also won the British Red Cross Humanity award. She founded the charitable organization Lumos that continues to help eight million children across the globe have a proper family life and end the of institutionalization of children.
Writing under a different name
J.K. Rowling started writing a detective book series under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, saying that she wanted to experience what it is like to write as a new writer again, without the expectation to create something phenomenal. Those who leaked her true identity were sued and the damages were given to a charity.
She has three children – a daughter named Jessica Arantes from her first marriage, and two sons: David Murray and Mackenzie Murray with her husband Neil Murray, a doctor whom she met through mutual friends.