17 Fun Facts About JK Rowling

I was all prepared to do a bunch of research to find out fun facts about JK Rolling, but upon investigation I realised her own website has a detailed list already. So a lot of these I’ve borrowed from there but not all.

1. Joanne Rowling was born on 31st July 1965 and grew up in Gloucestershire in England and in Chepstow, Gwent, in south-east Wales. She shares her birthday with Harry Potter.

2. Full name is Joanne Rowling (pronounced rolling), she has no middle name. Using the initials ‘JK’ was a publishing suggestion to make her identity anonymous, for fear that a wizarding story penned by a woman might be unpopular. As a result, a girl called Francesca Gray wrote Rowling her first fan letter addressing her as: ‘Dear Sir…’

3. Father was a Rolls-Royce aircraft engineer and her mother was a science technician.

4. Was Head Girl at Wyedean School and College, and graduated from the University of Exeter with a BA in French and Classics.

5. Wanted to be a writer from an early age. She wrote her first book at the age of six – a story about a rabbit, called ‘Rabbit’. At just eleven, she wrote her first novel – about seven cursed diamonds and the people who owned them. (I really want to read this book.)

6. Worked as a researcher and bilingual secretary for Amnesty International.

“There in my little office I read hastily scribbled letters smuggled out of totalitarian regimes by men and women who were risking imprisonment to inform the outside world of what was happening to them. My small participation in that process was one of the most humbling and inspiring experiences of my life.”

7. On a delayed train from Manchester to London in 1990, Rowling wrote her initial Potter ideas on a napkin. She typed Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone on a typewriter, often choosing to write in Edinburgh cafés. One in particular was The Elephant’s House in Edinburgh which I absolutely visited when I was in Edinburgh. It was awesome.

8. Went from being unemployed and living on state benefits to becoming a multi-millionaire in five years.

9. 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.

10. Her mother was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when Rowling was a teenager. Rowling regrets not being able to tell her about Harry Potter before she died.

11. Was awarded the Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2000. Since then she’s received an incredible amount of awards. The full list can be found here. She has also received honorary degrees from St Andrews University, the University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University, the University of Exeter, the University of Aberdeen and Harvard University.

12. In 2004, Forbes named Rowling as the first person to become a U.S.-dollar billionaire by writing books.

13. In 2008 she spoke at the Harvard commencement ceremony. This speech was made into an illustrated book in 2015 called Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination (Sphere), and sold in aid of Lumos and university-wide financial aid at Harvard.

14. Rowling was diagnosed with clinical depression which she claims gave her inspiration to create the Dementors in the Potter series. She also suffers from insomnia which she puts down to working too late and reading things on which she has a strong opinion.

15. Her first marriage was to television journalist Jorge Arantes to which she had one daughter, Jessica. Her second marriage was to anaesthetist Neil Murray, to which she has another son and daughter. Rowling admits to buying her wedding dress for her second marriage in disguise, to avoid being recognised.

16. Her first novel for adults was The Casual Vacancy  which has now been translated into 44 languages and was adapted for TV by the BBC in 2015. She also writes crime novels under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith about private detective Cormoran Strike. The first being The Cuckoo’s Calling, then The Silkworm, then Career of Evil. The series is being adapted for a television series for BBC One, produced by Brontë Film and Television.

17. Made her screenwriting debut on the film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. She is also a producer, and is writing the sequel.


So there’s some of my fun facts about JK Rowling. I kept it relatively short otherwise it would go on forever. If you want to know more about Rowling and the Potterverse, I can highly suggest searching out all of her interviews. All of them highly fascinating, especially the ones from the early years when the phenomena started, but also the later, intimate ones because you discover a whole bunch of exciting things about the Potterverse and more about Rowling herself. You can also explore her own website and her Wikipedia page for further fun facts and information.


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