|Birth Day:||July 31, 1965|
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Joanne Rowling was born on 31 July 1965 in Yate, Gloucestershire, the daughter of science technician Anne (née Volant) and Rolls-Royce aircraft engineer Peter James Rowling. Her parents first met on a train departing from King's Cross Station bound for Arbroath in 1964. They married on 14 March 1965. One of Rowling's maternal great-grandfathers, Dugald Campbell, was a Scottish man from Lamlash. Her mother's French paternal grandfather, Louis Volant, was awarded the War Cross for exceptional bravery in defending the village of Courcelles-le-Comte during World War I. Rowling originally believed Volant had won the Legion of Honour during the war, as she said when she received it herself in 2009. She later discovered the truth when featured in an episode of the UK genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are? in which she found out it was a different Louis Volant who won the Legion of Honour. When she heard her grandfather's story of bravery and discovered that the War Cross was for "ordinary" soldiers like her grandfather, who had been a waiter, she stated the War Cross was "better" to her than the Legion of Honour.
In 1982, Rowling took the entrance exams for Oxford University but was not accepted and earned a BA in French and Classics at the University of Exeter. Martin Sorrell, a French professor at Exeter, remembers "a quietly competent student, with a denim jacket and dark hair, who, in academic terms, gave the appearance of doing what was necessary". Rowling recalls doing little work, preferring to read Dickens and Tolkien. After a year of study in Paris, Rowling graduated from Exeter in 1986. In 1988, Rowling wrote a short essay about her time studying Classics titled "What was the Name of that Nymph Again? or Greek and Roman Studies Recalled"; it was published by the University of Exeter's journal Pegasus.
After working as a researcher and bilingual secretary in London for Amnesty International, Rowling moved with her then-boyfriend to Manchester, where she worked at the Chamber of Commerce. In 1990, while she was on a four-hour-delayed train trip from Manchester to London, the idea for a story of a young boy attending a school of wizardry "came fully formed" into her mind.
Rowling has contributed money and support for research and treatment of multiple sclerosis, from which her mother suffered before her death in 1990. In 2006, Rowling contributed a substantial sum toward the creation of a new Centre for Regenerative Medicine at Edinburgh University, later named the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic. In 2010, she donated another £10 million to the centre, and in 2019 a further £15 million. For unknown reasons, Scotland, Rowling's country of adoption, has the highest rate of multiple sclerosis in the world. In 2003, Rowling took part in a campaign to establish a national standard of care for MS sufferers. In April 2009, she announced that she was withdrawing her support for Multiple Sclerosis Society Scotland, citing her inability to resolve an ongoing feud between the organisation's northern and southern branches that had sapped morale and led to several resignations.
An advertisement in The Guardian led Rowling to move to Porto, Portugal, to teach English as a foreign language. She taught at night and began writing in the day while listening to Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto. After 18 months in Porto, she met Portuguese television journalist Jorge Arantes in a bar and found they shared an interest in Jane Austen. They married on 16 October 1992 and their child, Jessica Isabel Rowling Arantes (named after Jessica Mitford), was born on 27 July 1993 in Portugal. Rowling had previously suffered a miscarriage. The couple separated on 17 November 1993. Biographers have suggested that Rowling suffered domestic abuse during her marriage, which was later confirmed by Rowling herself, and by her first husband, who, in an article for The Sun in June 2020, said he had slapped her and did not regret it. The United Kingdom's domestic abuse commissioner Nicole Jacobs formally advised The Sun that it was unacceptable "to repeat and magnify the voice of someone who openly admits to violence against a partner". In December 1993, Rowling and her then infant daughter moved to Edinburgh, Scotland, to be near Rowling's sister with three chapters of what would become Harry Potter in her suitcase.
Rowling was left in despair after her estranged husband arrived in Scotland, seeking both her and their daughter. She obtained an Order of Restraint, and Arantes returned to Portugal, with Rowling filing for divorce in August 1994. She began a teacher training course in August 1995 at the Moray House School of Education, at Edinburgh University, after completing her first novel while living on state benefits. She wrote in many cafés, especially Nicolson's Café (owned by her brother-in-law), and the Elephant House, wherever she could get Jessica to fall asleep. In a 2001 BBC interview, Rowling denied the rumour that she wrote in local cafés to escape from her unheated flat, pointing out that it had heating. Rowling stated that she wrote in cafés because coffee was available without her breaking the flow of writing, and that taking her baby out for a walk helped her to fall asleep.
In 1995, Rowling finished her manuscript for Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone which was typed on an old manual typewriter. Upon the enthusiastic response of Bryony Evens, a reader who had been asked to review the book's first three chapters, the Fulham-based Christopher Little Literary Agency agreed to represent Rowling in her quest for a publisher. The book was submitted to twelve publishing houses, all of which rejected the manuscript. A year later, she was finally given the green light (and a £1,500 advance) by editor Barry Cunningham from Bloomsbury, a publishing house in London. The decision to publish Rowling's book owes much to Alice Newton, the eight-year-old daughter of Bloomsbury's chairman, who was given the first chapter to review by her father and immediately demanded the next. Although Bloomsbury agreed to publish the book, Cunningham says that he advised Rowling to get a day job, since she had little chance of making money in children's books. Soon after, in 1997, Rowling received an £8,000 grant from the Scottish Arts Council to enable her to continue writing.
In June 1997, Bloomsbury published Philosopher's Stone with an initial print run of 1,000 copies, 500 of which were distributed to libraries. Today, such copies are valued between £16,000 and £25,000. Five months later, the book won its first award, a Nestlé Smarties Book Prize. In February, the novel won the British Book Award for Children's Book of the Year and, later, the Children's Book Award. In early 1998, an auction was held in the United States for the rights to publish the novel, and was won by Scholastic Inc., for US$105,000. Rowling said that she "nearly died" when she heard the news. In October 1998, Scholastic published Philosopher's Stone in the US under the title of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, a change Rowling says she now regrets and would have fought if she had been in a better position at the time. Rowling moved from her flat with the money from the Scholastic sale, into 19 Hazelbank Terrace in Edinburgh.
Its sequel, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, was published in July 1998 and again Rowling won the Smarties Prize. In December 1999, the third novel, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, won the Smarties Prize, making Rowling the first person to win the award three times running. She later withdrew the fourth Harry Potter novel from contention to allow other books a fair chance. In January 2000, Prisoner of Azkaban won the inaugural Whitbread Children's Book of the Year award, though it lost the Book of the Year prize to Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf.
In October 1998, Warner Bros. purchased the film rights to the first two novels for a seven-figure sum. A film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was released on 16 November 2001, and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on 15 November 2002. Both films were directed by Chris Columbus. The film version of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released on 4 June 2004, directed by Alfonso Cuarón. The fourth film, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, was directed by Mike Newell, and released on 18 November 2005. The film of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was released on 11 July 2007. David Yates directed, and Michael Goldenberg wrote the screenplay, having taken over the position from Steve Kloves. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince was released on 15 July 2009. David Yates directed again, and Kloves returned to write the script. Warner Bros. filmed the final instalment of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, in two segments, with part one being released on 19 November 2010 and part two being released on 15 July 2011. Yates directed both films.
The fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, was released simultaneously in the UK and the US on 8 July 2000 and broke sales records in both countries. 372,775 copies of the book were sold in its first day in the UK, almost equalling the number Prisoner of Azkaban sold during its first year. In the US, the book sold three million copies in its first 48 hours, smashing all records. Rowling said that she had had a crisis while writing the novel and had to rewrite one chapter many times to fix a problem with the plot. Rowling was named Author of the Year in the 2000 British Book Awards.
In 2000, Rowling established the Volant Charitable Trust, which uses its annual budget of £5.1 million to combat poverty and social inequality. The fund also gives to organisations that aid children, one-parent families, and multiple sclerosis research.
Rowling, once a single parent, is now president of the charity Gingerbread (originally One Parent Families), having become their first Ambassador in 2000. Rowling collaborated with Sarah Brown to write a book of children's stories to aid One Parent Families.
Rowling acquired the courtesy title of Laird of Killiechassie in 2001 when she purchased the historic Killiechassie House, and its surrounding estate situated on the banks of the River Tay, near Aberfeldy, in Perth and Kinross. Rowling also owns a £4.5 million Georgian house in Kensington, west London, on a street with 24-hour security.
On 26 December 2001, Rowling married Neil Murray (born 30 June 1971), a Scottish doctor, in a private ceremony at her home, Killiechassie House, in Scotland. Their son, David Gordon Rowling Murray, was born on 24 March 2003. Shortly after Rowling began writing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, she ceased working on the novel to care for David in his early infancy.
In 2001, the UK anti-poverty fundraiser Comic Relief asked three best-selling British authors—cookery writer and TV presenter Delia Smith, Bridget Jones creator Helen Fielding, and Rowling—to submit booklets related to their most famous works for publication. Rowling's two booklets, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages, are ostensibly facsimiles of books found in the Hogwarts library. Since going on sale in March 2001, the books have raised £15.7 million for the fund. The £10.8 million they have raised outside the UK have been channelled into a newly created International Fund for Children and Young People in Crisis. In 2002, Rowling contributed a foreword to Magic, an anthology of fiction published by Bloomsbury Publishing, helping to raise money for the National Council for One Parent Families.
Rowling has stated that she has a difficult relationship with the press, admitting at one point to being "thin-skinned" and disliking the fickle nature of reporting, though she has disputed that she is a recluse who hates to be interviewed. By 2011, Rowling had taken more than 50 actions against the press. In 2001, the Press Complaints Commission upheld a complaint by Rowling over a series of unauthorised photographs of her with her daughter on the beach in Mauritius published in OK! magazine. In 2007, Rowling's young son, David, assisted by Rowling and her husband, lost a court fight to ban publication of a photograph of David. The photo, which was taken by a photographer using a long-range lens, was then published in a Sunday Express article featuring Rowling's family life and motherhood. The judgement was overturned in David's favour in May 2008.
Rowling is a friend of Sarah Brown, wife of former prime minister Gordon Brown, whom she met when they collaborated on a charitable project. When Sarah Brown's son Fraser was born in 2003, Rowling was one of the first to visit her in hospital. Rowling's youngest child, daughter Mackenzie Jean Rowling Murray, to whom she dedicated Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, was born on 23 January 2005.
In 2004, Forbes named Rowling as the first person to become a US-dollar billionaire by writing books, the second-richest female entertainer and the 1,062nd richest person in the world. Rowling disputed the calculations and said she had plenty of money, but was not a billionaire. The 2020 Sunday Times Rich List estimated Rowling's fortune at £795 million, ranking her as the 178th richest person in the UK. In 2012, Forbes removed Rowling from their rich list, claiming that her US$160 million in charitable donations and the high tax rate in the UK meant she was no longer a billionaire. In February 2013, she was assessed as the 13th most powerful woman in the United Kingdom by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4.
The sixth book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, was released on 16 July 2005. It too broke all sales records, selling nine million copies in its first 24 hours of release. In 2006, Half-Blood Prince received the Book of the Year prize at the British Book Awards.
In 2005, Rowling and MEP Emma Nicholson founded the Children's High Level Group (now Lumos). In January 2006, Rowling went to Bucharest to highlight the use of caged beds in mental institutions for children. To further support the CHLG, Rowling auctioned one of seven handwritten and illustrated copies of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a series of fairy tales referred to in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The book was purchased for £1.95 million by online bookseller Amazon.com on 13 December 2007, becoming the most expensive modern book ever sold at auction. Rowling gave away the remaining six copies to those who have a close connection with the Harry Potter books. In 2008, Rowling agreed to publish the book with the proceeds going to Lumos. On 1 June 2010 (International Children's Day), Lumos launched an annual initiative—Light a Birthday Candle for Lumos. In November 2013, Rowling handed over all earnings from the sale of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, totalling nearly £19 million.
The title of the seventh and final Harry Potter book was announced on 21 December 2006 as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. In February 2007, it was reported that Rowling wrote on a bust in her hotel room at the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh that she had finished the seventh book in that room on 11 January 2007. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was released on 21 July 2007 (0:01 BST) and broke its predecessor's record as the fastest-selling book of all time. It sold 11 million copies in the first day of release in the United Kingdom and United States. The book's last chapter was one of the earliest things she wrote in the entire series.
In a 2006 interview with Tatler, Rowling noted that, "like Graham Greene, my faith is sometimes about if my faith will return. It's important to me." She has said that she has struggled with doubt, that she believes in an afterlife, and that her faith plays a part in her books. In a 2012 radio interview, Rowling stated that she was a member of the Scottish Episcopal Church, a province of the Anglican Communion.
In 2007, during the Edinburgh Book Festival, author Ian Rankin claimed that his wife spotted Rowling "scribbling away" at a detective novel in a café. Rankin later retracted the story, claiming it was a joke, but the rumour persisted, with a report in 2012 in The Guardian speculating that Rowling's next book would be a crime novel. In an interview with Stephen Fry in 2005, Rowling had claimed that she would much prefer to write any subsequent books under a pseudonym, but had previously conceded to Jeremy Paxman in 2003 that if she did, the press would probably "find out in seconds".
Rowling has said it is unlikely she will write any more books in the Harry Potter series. In October 2007, she stated that her future work was unlikely to be in the fantasy genre. On 1 October 2010, in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Rowling stated a new book on the saga might happen.
In 2007, Rowling stated that she planned to write an encyclopaedia of Harry Potter's wizarding world consisting of various unpublished material and notes. Any profits from such a book would be given to charity. During a news conference at Hollywood's Kodak Theatre in 2007, Rowling, when asked how the encyclopaedia was coming along, said, "It's not coming along, and I haven't started writing it. I never said it was the next thing I'd do." At the end of 2007, Rowling said that the encyclopaedia could take up to ten years to complete.
On 1 and 2 August 2006, she read alongside Stephen King and John Irving at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Profits from the event were donated to the Haven Foundation, a charity that aids artists and performers left uninsurable and unable to work, and the medical NGO Médecins Sans Frontières. In May 2007, Rowling pledged a donation reported as over £250,000 to a reward fund started by the tabloid News of the World for the safe return of a young British girl, Madeleine McCann, who disappeared in Portugal. Rowling, along with Nelson Mandela, Al Gore, and Alan Greenspan, wrote an introduction to a collection of Gordon Brown's speeches, the proceeds of which were donated to the Jennifer Brown Research Laboratory. After her exposure as the true author of The Cuckoo's Calling led to a massive increase in sales, Rowling announced she would donate all her royalties to the Army Benevolent Fund, claiming she had always intended to but never expected the book to be a best-seller.
In 2007, Rowling stated that she was the only person in her family who attended church regularly, and that she was an adherent of the Church of England. As a student, she had previously been annoyed at the "smugness of religious people", and had attended less often. Later, she began attending a Church of Scotland congregation around the time she was writing Harry Potter. Her eldest daughter, Jessica, was baptised there.
In May 2008, bookseller Waterstones asked Rowling and 12 other writers (Lisa Appignanesi, Margaret Atwood, Lauren Child, Sebastian Faulks, Richard Ford, Neil Gaiman, Nick Hornby, Doris Lessing, Michael Rosen, Axel Scheffler, Tom Stoppard and Irvine Welsh) to compose a short piece of their own choosing on a single A5 card, which would then be sold at auction in aid of the charities Dyslexia Action and English PEN. Rowling's contribution was an 800-word Harry Potter prequel that concerns Harry's father, James Potter, and godfather, Sirius Black, and takes place three years before Harry was born. The cards were collated and sold for charity in book form in August 2008.
To many, Rowling is known for her centre-left political views. In September 2008, on the eve of the Labour Party Conference, Rowling announced that she had donated £1 million to the Labour Party, and publicly endorsed then Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown over Conservative challenger David Cameron, praising Labour's policies on child poverty. Rowling is a close friend of Sarah Brown, wife of Gordon Brown, whom she met when they collaborated on a charitable project for One Parent Families.
Rowling has also commented on American politics, having discussed the 2008 United States presidential election in the Spanish-language newspaper El País in February 2008. Rowling stating that the election would have a profound effect on the rest of the world, and commented that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton would be "extraordinary" if elected into office. In the same interview, Rowling identified Robert F. Kennedy as her hero.
Rowling has received honorary degrees from St Andrews University, the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University, the University of Exeter (which she attended), the University of Aberdeen, and Harvard University, where she spoke at the 2008 commencement ceremony. In 2009, Rowling was made a Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. In 2002, Rowling became an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (HonFRSE) as well a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (FRSL). She was furthermore recognized as Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (FRCPE) in 2011 for services to Literature and Philanthropy.
In April 2010, an article by Rowling was published in The Times, in which she criticised then Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron's plan to encourage married couples to stay together by offering them a £150 annual tax credit: "Nobody who has ever experienced the reality of poverty could say 'it's not the money, it's the message'. When your flat has been broken into, and you cannot afford a locksmith, it is the money. When you are two pence short of a tin of baked beans, and your child is hungry, it is the money. When you find yourself contemplating shoplifting to get nappies, it is the money."
In July 2011, Rowling parted company with her agent, Christopher Little, moving to a new agency founded by one of his staff, Neil Blair. On 23 February 2012, his agency, the Blair Partnership, announced on its website that Rowling was set to publish a new book targeted at adults. In a press release, Rowling said that her new book would be quite different from Harry Potter. In April 2012, Little, Brown and Company announced that the book was titled The Casual Vacancy and would be released on 27 September 2012. Rowling gave several interviews and made appearances to promote The Casual Vacancy, including at the London Southbank Centre, the Cheltenham Literature Festival, Charlie Rose and the Lennoxlove Book Festival. In its first three weeks of release, The Casual Vacancy sold over 1 million copies worldwide.
In June 2011, Rowling announced that future Harry Potter projects, and all electronic downloads, would be concentrated in a new website, called Pottermore. The site includes 18,000 words of information on characters, places and objects in the Harry Potter universe.
In September 2011, Rowling was named as a "core participant" in the Leveson Inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the British press, as one of dozens of celebrities who may have been the victim of phone hacking. On 24 November 2011, Rowling gave evidence before the inquiry; although she was not suspected to have been the victim of phone hacking, her testimony included accounts of photographers camping on her doorstep, her fiancé being duped into giving his home address to a journalist masquerading as a tax official, her chasing a journalist a week after giving birth, a journalist leaving a note inside her then-five year old daughter's schoolbag, and an attempt by The Sun to "blackmail" her into a photo opportunity in exchange for the return of a stolen manuscript. Rowling claimed she had to leave her former home in Merchiston because of press intrusion. In November 2012, Rowling wrote an article for The Guardian in reaction to David Cameron's decision not to implement the full recommendations of the Leveson inquiry, saying she felt "duped and angry".
In October 2012, a New Yorker magazine article stated that the Rowling family lived in a seventeenth-century Edinburgh house, concealed at the front by tall conifer hedges. Prior to October 2012, Rowling lived near the author Ian Rankin, who later said she was quiet and introspective, and that she seemed in her element with children. As of June 2014, the family resides in Scotland.
On 3 December 2012, it was announced that the BBC would be adapting The Casual Vacancy into a television drama miniseries. Rowling's agent, Neil Blair acted as producer, through his independent production company and with Rick Senat serving as executive producer. Rowling collaborated on the adaptation, serving as an executive producer for the series. The series aired in three parts from 15 February to 1 March 2015.
In July 2012, Rowling was featured at the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony in London, where she read a few lines from J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan as part of a tribute to Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children. An inflatable representation of Lord Voldemort and other children's literary characters accompanied her reading.
In September 2013, Warner Bros. announced an "expanded creative partnership" with Rowling, based on a planned series of films about her character Newt Scamander, author of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The first film was released in November 2016 and is set roughly 70 years before the events of the main series. In 2016, it was announced that the series would consist of five films. The second, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, was released in November 2018.
In April 2013, Little Brown published The Cuckoo's Calling, the purported début novel of author Robert Galbraith, whom the publisher described as "a former plainclothes Royal Military Police investigator who had left in 2003 to work in the civilian security industry". The novel, a detective story in which private investigator Cormoran Strike unravels the supposed suicide of a supermodel, sold 1,500 copies in hardback (although the matter was not resolved as of 21 July 2013; later reports stated that this number is the number of copies that were printed for the first run, while the sales total was closer to 500) and received acclaim from other crime writers and critics—a Publishers Weekly review called the book a "stellar debut", while the Library Journal's mystery section pronounced the novel "the debut of the month".
India Knight, a novelist and columnist for The Sunday Times, tweeted on 9 July 2013 that she had been reading The Cuckoo's Calling and thought it was good for a début novel. In response, a tweeter called Jude Callegari said that the author was Rowling. Knight queried this but got no further reply. Knight notified Richard Brooks, arts editor of The Sunday Times, who began his own investigation. After discovering that Rowling and Galbraith had the same agent and editor, he sent the books for linguistic analysis which found similarities, and subsequently contacted Rowling's agent who confirmed it was Rowling's pseudonym. Within days of Rowling being revealed as the author, sales of the book rose by 4,000%, and Little Brown printed another 140,000 copies to meet the increase in demand. As of 18 July 2013, a signed copy of the first edition sold for US$4,453 (£2,950), while an unsold signed first-edition copy was being offered for $6,188 (£3,950).
Soon after the revelation, Brooks pondered whether Jude Callegari could have been Rowling as part of wider speculation that the entire affair had been a publicity stunt. Some also observed that many of the writers who had initially praised the book, such as Alex Gray or Val McDermid, were within Rowling's circle of acquaintances; both vociferously denied any foreknowledge of Rowling's authorship. Judith "Jude" Callegari was the best friend of the wife of Chris Gossage, a partner within Russells Solicitors, Rowling's legal representatives. Rowling released a statement saying she was disappointed and angry; Russells apologised for the leak, confirming it was not part of a marketing stunt and that "the disclosure was made in confidence to someone he [Gossage] trusted implicitly". Russells made a donation to the Soldiers' Charity on Rowling's behalf and reimbursed her for her legal fees. On 26 November 2013, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) issued Gossage a written rebuke and £1,000 fine for breaching privacy rules.
On 17 February 2014, Rowling announced that the second Cormoran Strike novel, named The Silkworm, would be released in June 2014. It sees Strike investigating the disappearance of a writer hated by many of his old friends for insulting them in his new novel.
Due to her residency in Scotland, Rowling was eligible to vote in the 2014 referendum on Scottish independence, during the run up to which she campaigned for the "No" vote. She donated £1 million to the Better Together anti-independence campaign run by her former neighbour Alistair Darling, the largest donation it had received at the time. In a blog post, Rowling explained that an open letter from Scottish medical professionals raised problems with First Minister Alex Salmond's plans for a common research funding. Rowling compared some Scottish Nationalists with the Death Eaters, characters from Harry Potter who are scornful of those without pure blood.
Rowling has expressed her particular dislike the Daily Mail, a British tabloid which has conducted several interviews with her estranged ex-husband. As one journalist noted, "Harry's Uncle Vernon is a grotesque philistine of violent tendencies and remarkably little brain. It is not difficult to guess which newspaper Rowling gives him to read [in Goblet of Fire]." In 2014, she successfully sued the Mail for libel over an article about her time as a single mother. Some have speculated that Rowling's fraught relationship with the press was the inspiration behind the character Rita Skeeter, a gossipy celebrity journalist who first appears in Goblet of Fire, but Rowling said in 2000 that the character's development predates her rise to fame.
In 2014, Rowling reaffirmed her support for "Hacked Off", a campaign supporting the self-regulation of the press, by co-signing a declaration to "[safeguard] the press from political interference while also giving vital protection to the vulnerable" with other British celebrities.
In 2015, Rowling stated on Galbraith's website that the third Cormoran Strike novel would include "an insane amount of planning, the most I have done for any book I have written so far. I have colour-coded spreadsheets so I can keep a track of where I am going." On 24 April 2015, Rowling announced that work on the third book was completed. Titled Career of Evil, it was released on 20 October 2015 in the United States, and on 22 October 2015 in the United Kingdom.
In October 2015, Rowling announced via Pottermore that a two-part play she had co-authored with playwrights Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, was the "eighth Harry Potter story" and that it would focus on the life of Harry Potter's youngest son Albus after the epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. On 28 October 2015, the first round of tickets went on sale and sold out in several hours.
On 22 October 2015, a letter was published in The Guardian signed by Rowling (along with over 150 other figures from arts and politics) opposing the cultural boycott of Israel, and announcing the creation of a network for dialogue, called Culture for Coexistence. Rowling later explained her position in greater detail, stating that although she opposed most of Benjamin Netanyahu's actions, she did not believe the cultural boycott would bring about the removal of Israel's leader or the improvement of the situation in Israel and Palestine.
In 2015, following the referendum on same-sex marriage in Ireland, Rowling joked that if Ireland legalised same-sex marriage, Dumbledore and Gandalf could get married there. The Westboro Baptist Church, in response, stated that if the two got married, they would picket. Rowling responded by saying, "Alas, the sheer awesomeness of such a union in such a place would blow your tiny bigoted minds out of your thick sloping skulls."
In June 2016, Rowling campaigned for the United Kingdom to stay in the European Union in the run up to the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, stating on her website that, "I'm the mongrel product of this European continent and I'm an internationalist. I was raised by a Francophile mother whose family was proud of their part-French heritage ... My values are not contained or proscribed by borders. The absence of a visa when I cross the channel has symbolic value to me. I might not be in my house, but I'm still in my hometown." Rowling expressed concern that "racists and bigots" were directing parts of the Leave campaign. In a blog post, she added: "How can a retreat into selfish and insecure individualism be the right response when Europe faces genuine threats, when the bonds that tie us are so powerful, when we have come so far together? How can we hope to conquer the enormous challenges of terrorism and climate change without cooperation and collaboration?"
Rowling was named the most highly paid author in the world with earnings of £72 million ($95 million) a year by Forbes in 2017.
In 2017, the BBC released a Cormoran Strike television series, starring Tom Burke as Cormoran Strike, it was picked up by HBO for distribution in the United States and Canada.
In March 2017, Rowling revealed the fourth novel's title via Twitter in a game of "Hangman" with her followers. After many failed attempts, followers finally guessed correctly. Rowling confirmed that the next novel's title is Lethal White. While intended for a 2017 release, Rowling tweeted the book was taking longer than expected and would be the longest book in the series thus far. The book was released 18 September 2018. The fifth novel in the series, titled Troubled Blood, was published in September 2020.
In December 2019, Rowling tweeted her support for Maya Forstater, a British woman who lost her employment tribunal case against her former employer, the Center for Global Development, after her contract was not renewed due to her comments about transgender people. The tribunal ruled that Forstater's statements about transgender people, including the misgendering a person, promoted "an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment", and were not protected beliefs under the Equality Act 2010. Forstater is appealing the judgment.
Starting on 26 May 2020 and running until 10 July 2020, Rowling published a new children's story online. The Ickabog was first mooted as a "political fairytale" for children in a 2007 Time magazine interview. Rowling shelved the story and decided to publish it for children as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A print edition is scheduled for November 2020 and will contain illustrations selected from entries to a competition running concurrently with the online publication.
On 6 June 2020, Rowling tweeted criticism of the phrase "people who menstruate", and stated "If sex isn’t real, the lived reality of women globally is erased. I know and love trans people, but erasing the concept of sex removes the ability of many to meaningfully discuss their lives." The term "people who menstruate" is used to include some trans men and non-binary people who also menstruate. Rowling's tweets were criticised by GLAAD, who called them "cruel" and "anti-trans". Some members of the cast of the Harry Potter film series criticised Rowling's views or spoke out in support of trans rights, including Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Bonnie Wright, and Katie Leung, as did Fantastic Beasts lead actor Eddie Redmayne and the fansites MuggleNet and The Leaky Cauldron. Actress Noma Dumezweni (who played Hermione Granger in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) initially expressed support for Rowling but backtracked following backlash.
On 10 June 2020, Rowling published a 3,600 word essay on her website in response to the criticism. She said that she was a survivor of domestic abuse and sexual assault, and stated that "When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman ... then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside", while stating that most trans people were vulnerable and deserved protection. She also wrote that many women consider terms like "people who menstruate" to be demeaning. The essay was criticised by, among others, the children's charity Mermaids, who support transgender and gender non-conforming children and their parents. Rowling has been referred to as a trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) on multiple occasions, though she rejects the label. Rowling has received support from actors Robbie Coltrane and Brian Cox, and some feminists such as activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali and radical feminist Julie Bindel.
In August 2020, Rowling returned her Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award after Kerry Kennedy released a statement expressing her "profound disappointment" in Rowling's "attacks upon the transgender community", which Kennedy called "inconsistent with the fundamental beliefs and values of RFK Human Rights and...a repudiation of my [her] father's vision". Rowling stated that she was "deeply saddened" by Kennedy's statement, but maintained that no award would encourage her to "forfeit the right to follow the dictates" of her conscience.
Currently, JK Rowling is 55 years, 8 months and 16 days old. JK Rowling will celebrate 56th birthday on a Saturday 31st of July 2021.
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