In your opinion, is it possible to go from being an ordinary person to becoming the most famous writer in the world? Did you guess who we’re talking about? One of the richest people in the United Kingdom: Joanne Kathleen Rowling. Her middle name, Kathleen, is in honor of her grandmother.
Born on 31st July 1965 in Yate, J. K. revealed her amazing talent and her uncontainable imagination since she was young. At school, her favorite subjects were literature and foreign languages.
Her ambition was to become a secretary.
However, once she got her dream job, she realized that this wasn’t what she was meant for.
In 1990, J.K. Rowling moved to Portugal where she got a job as an English teacher at a local school.
There she met Jorge Arantes, a Portuguese journalist whom she married in 1992.One year later, she gave birth to their daughter, Jessica. Unfortunately, their marriagedid not turn out to be the happiest. The couple divorcedshortly afterwards and J. K. experienced a time of acute depression. Writing was her therapy.
J. K. Rowling started writing Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first of a series of seven books. The book was finished in 1995 and the manuscript was sent to different publishing houses. It was rejected several times, because, according to the publishers, the public wouldn’t be interested in a fantasy book written by a woman. After a total of twelve rejections the book was finally published in 1997.
Harry Potter immediately gained worldwide popularity, to the point that, starting in 2001, Warner Bros have made his stories into as successful films. The Harry Potter fantasy saga today consists of 7 books: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and, finally, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. As many as eight Harry Potter movies, have grossed 9 billion dollars worldwide. They have been broadcast in 166 countries and translated in 25 languages.
At first, readers mainly consisted of children between the age of 9 and 11, but later the book became increasingly popular among adults, too. It’s a wonderful journey through magic, capable of transporting everybody in a parallel world.
Harry Potter’s popularity has gone beyond the fiction and the greatness of its author is to have created a world, and characters, that can totally involve the reader. The protagonist has become not only a commercial and economical phenomenon but also a cultural icon, representative of the British culture.
For instance, the Hogwarts Express, the train which links London to Hogwarts departing from platform 9 ¾ has become a tourist attraction. So have the Harry Potter Studios in London, visited by thousands of fans everyday, and Edinburgh’s Elephant House Café, the place where the writer used to sit and write her masterpiece. Harry Potter is also a famous soundtrack, produced by John Williams, which can be listened on Spotify or YouTube Music.
In addition, there is a vast quantity of themed websites. Among them is Pottermore, where it is possible to take quizzes to test and discover your own magical identity.
For J. K. Rowling, becoming the woman she is today has not been easy.
She had to fight a really strong prejudice, according to which Fantasy was a genre for male writers only. Initially, she was even asked to hide her identity behind a male pseudonym, Robert Galbraith. Despite all this, she largely demonstrated what she’s capable of and nowadays she is an icon of the fantasy world.
“I had been writing almost continuously since the age of six, but I had never been so excited about an idea before. I simply sat and thought, for four hours, and all the details bubbled up in my brain, and this scrawny, black-haired, bespectacled boy who did not know he was a wizard became more and more real to me”. These are the words of the famous writer, who did not have any idea or intention of becoming the admired woman she is now.
J. K. Rowling is a role model and an example for all those who feel insecurity or inadequacy: don’t be afraid because it is better to regret something you have done than to spend your life asking yourself“What would have happened if I had only had a little more courage?” What are you waiting for, everyone out there who hasn’t seen Harry Potter yet?