A tale beyond magic
J K Rowling
This remarkable woman has so many honors and awards to her name it is difficult to give her a justified introduction within the scope of words. Known for her mesmerizing creation of the world of fantasy which is the Harry Potter universe, JK Rowling has acclaimed international recognition, won numerous awards and been bestowed with several honors. Like most other celebrities of today, Rowling worked hard and earned every ounce of her fame and popularity.
On 31 July 1965, Joanne Rowling was born to Londoner parents, both of whom had served in the Navy. Her only sibling, Diane, was born two years after her. At the age of four they moved to Winterbourne, on the outskirts of Bristol, where she began her early school years before her parents decided to move again, this time to Tutshill; a small village in Wales. Her mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis when Rowling was just 15, and this had an impact on Rowling in her later life.
In 1983, Rowling attended the University of Exeter, where she studied French. She worked with Amnesty International for a while after graduating. Rowling claims the concept of Harry Potter just came to her during a train trip. Not having a pen with her at the time, she built on her ideas for then, and began writing as soon as she got back home. Her mother passed away in 1990, and Rowling regrets of having told her about Harry Potter. She moved to Portugal next, to teach English. She married a Portuguese television journalist, Jorge Arantes, in 1992, and got divorced the following year. They had a daughter together. The next year she moved to Scotland with her daughter, so that she could live close to her sister. She did not have a proper job, and lived on state benefits. It is rumored that she continued her writing in various cafes because her flat in Edinburgh had no heating, although Rowling denies this.
Rowling completed Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in 1995. Christopher Little Literary Agency agreed to help her find a publisher. Twelve publishing houses rejected her work before Bloomsbury decided to publish it, based on the enthusiasm of the 8-year-old Alice Newton, daughter of the chairperson of Bloomsbury. The Scottish Arts Council awarded her a grant worth £ 8000 so she could continue writing. The following year, Scholastic Inc. won the rights to publish her book in the United States of America at an auction. They paid Rowling more than $ 100000. That same year, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone won the Nestle Smarties Book Prize. A few months later, the book also won the British Book Award for Children's Book of the Year, and the Children's Book Award followed soon thereafter.
The next two books, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, both won the Smarties Prize, and Rowling received an award for being the first person to win the Smarties Prize thrice in a row. She withdrew her fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, out of the competition, to give other books a chance. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban also won the Whitbread Children's Book of the Year in 2000 along with the Hugo Award, the Bram Stoker Award, and several other awards. Her seventh and final book of the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, is scheduled to be released in July of this year.
Warner Bros. bought film rights for the first two books, and paid close attention to how Rowling wished the movies to be made.
JK Rowling has earned numerous honors for her contributions to society. She had the title of “Officer of the Order of the British Empire” bestowed upon her by the Queen in the year 2000. A housing development near her birthplace is named the “Rowling Gate”. The asteroid 43844 was named Rowling after her in 2006. In the same year, a newly- discovered dinosaur, “Dracorex hogwartsia”, on display at the Children's Museum in Indianapolis, was named in her honor.
Rowling now owns three luxurious houses in Aberfeldy, Scotland and London, with 24-hour security. She remarried in 2001, and has two more sons from this marriage. Rowling states she has been writing since the age of six, and plans to continue writing after the conclusion of the Harry Potter series.
Compiled by Tamara Zaman
(R) thedailystar.net 2007