Shakespeare and Dickens may have had to wait until they were dead to have people so interested in their lives, but not British author Joanne Kathleen Rowling. J.K. Rowling (ROLL-ing), aka "Jo", has been in the spotlight since her New York Times Bestseller Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone hit shelves in 1997. She has been called an inspiration to writers everywhere because of the miraculous tale of how Harry Potter came to be.
The common story is that Rowling was a single mother living on welfare who wrote a book and is now famous. That is true, but it happens to be much more complicated than that. Rowling graduated from Exeter University with a degree in French, but she says she always loved to write. She worked in an Amnesty International office in London when she said that she first came up with the idea for Harry Potter. Articles quoted her saying that she dreamed up much of the plot and many of the characters on a long train ride and a coffee shop where she often wrote while her daughter napped. Apparently, Rowling moved to Portugal to be an English teacher in 1992, where she spent her free time working on her book. She was in Portugal when her book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was signed on by Bloomsbury Children's Books for publication. In what is described as a whirlwind of events, the book became a bestseller and received an abundance of awards.
Rowling has encountered more fans and enemies than most authors these days. Some parents probably love her for writing something that their kids will read. But others think she is immoral and writes curses from the devil. Despite the controversy that surrounds her, she is nonetheless a bestselling author of four books and an expected three or four more. If nothing else, she is an inspiration for authors who have an idea brewing in their heads.
Critics and Controversy