J. K. Rowling CH OBE FRSL
(1965-present)

Aged 56

Joanne Rowling CH, OBE, HonFRSE, FRCPE, FRSL (/ˈroʊlɪŋ/ ROH-ling; born 31 July 1965), better known by her pen name J. K. Rowling, is a British author, philanthropist, film producer, television producer, and screenwriter. She is best known for writing the Harry Potter fantasy series, which has won multiple awards and sold more than 500 million copies, becoming the best-selling book series in history. The books are the basis of a popular film series, over which Rowling had overall approval on the scripts and was a producer on the final films. She also writes crime fiction under the pen name Robert Galbraith. Born in Yate, Gloucestershire, Rowling was working as a researcher and bilingual secretary for Amnesty International in 1990 when she conceived the idea for the Harry Potter series while on a delayed train from Manchester to London. The seven-year period that followed saw the death of her mother, birth of her first child, divorce from her first husband, and relative poverty until the first novel in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, was published in 1997. There were six sequels, of which the last was released in 2007. Since then, Rowling has written several books for adult readers: The Casual Vacancy (2012) and—under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith—the crime fiction Cormoran Strike series. In 2020, her "political fairytale" for children, The Ickabog, was released in instalments in an online version. Rowling has lived a "rags to riches" life in which she progressed from living on benefits to being named the world's first billionaire author by Forbes. Rowling disputed the assertion, saying she was not a billionaire. Forbes reported that she lost her billionaire status after giving away much of her earnings to charity. Her UK sales total in excess of £238 million, making her the best-selling living author in Britain. The 2021 Sunday Times Rich List estimated Rowling's fortune at £820 million, ranking her as the 196th richest person in the UK. Time named her a runner-up for its 2007 Person of the Year, noting the social, moral, and political inspiration she has given her fans. Rowling was appointed a member of the Order of the Companions of Honour (CH) in the 2017 Birthday Honours for services to literature and philanthropy. In October 2010, she was named the "Most Influential Woman in Britain" by leading magazine editors. Rowling has supported multiple charities, including Comic Relief, One Parent Families, and Multiple Sclerosis Society of Great Britain, as well as launching her own charity, Lumos. Since late 2019, Rowling has publicly voiced her opinions on transgender people and related civil rights. These views have led to controversy.

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Commemorated on 3 plaques

gnomonic on Flickr
gnomonic on Flickr
gnomonic on Flickr

J. K. Rowling wrote some of the early chapters of Harry Potter in the rooms on the first floor of this building.

Black Medicine Coffee Company, 108-110 Marchmont Rd, Edinburgh, United Kingdom where they wrote

Made famous as the place of inspiration to writers such as J. K. Rowling, who sat writing much of her early novels in the back room overlooking Edinburgh Castle. Ian Rankin, author of the Rebus novels, and Alexander McCall-Smith have both also frequented The Elephant House, as well as many other writers.

The Elephant House, 21 George IV Bridge, Edinburgh, United Kingdom where they wrote

Founded in 1873 Robert Cresser's Brush Shop occupied No. 40 for 131 years. Harry Potter fans believe this magical street gave J. K. Rowling the vision for Diagon Alley. With original Victorian fixtures full of dusty boxes and broomsticks - was this little shop the inspiration for Ollivanders

40 Victoria Street, Edinburgh, United Kingdom where they inspired