Enica/ July 31, 2018/ Walker's Bookshelf, Youth Services

J.K. Rowling, also known as Joanne “Kathleen” Rowling, was born on July 31, 1965. She has sold an estimated of 500 million books and is the author of the Harry Potter series.

A writer is a writer is a writer…

J.K. Rowling always wanted to be an author. At the age of six, she wrote a story about a rabbit called Rabbit. She has been writing ever since.

King’s Cross holds a special place in J.K. Rowling’s heart.

The reason why J.K. Rowling picked King’s Cross as a gateway to the wizarding world is personal. She said, “For me… King’s Cross Station is a very, very romantic place, probably the most romantic station, purely because my parents met here. So, that’s always been part of my childhood folklore. So, I wanted Harry to go to Hogwarts by train…and obviously, therefore, it had to be from King’s Cross”.

On Pottermore, a website for all things Harry Potter, J.K. Rowling wrote an interesting legend about King’s Cross:

“It is said (though where the story originated I could not tell you; it is suspiciously vague) that King’s Cross station was built either on the site of Boudicca’s last battle (Boudicca was an ancient British queen who led a rebellion against the Romans) or on the site of her tomb. Legend has it that her grave is situated somewhere in the region of platforms eight to ten. I did not know this when I gave the wizards’ platform its number. King’s Cross station takes its name from a now-demolished monument to King George IV” (3).

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, King’s Cross officially added Platform 9 ¾, where a luggage trolley stuck halfway into the wall can be found.

In terms of literary genre, fantasy is not J.K. Rowling’s first pick.

Considering she wrote one of the best-selling fantasy books in the world, J.K. Rowling is not so keen about reading fantasy. When asked by the New York Times if there was “any literary genre [she] simply can’t be bothered with”, Rowling said:

“’Can’t be bothered with’ isn’t a phrase I’d use, because my reading tastes are pretty catholic. I don’t read ‘chick lit’, fantasy or science fiction but I’ll give any book a chance if it’s lying there and I’ve got half an hour to kill.’”.

Yet, Harry Potter was the one book she was meant to write, even J.K. Rowling feels the same way.

“’I don’t think I had ever felt so excited. I thought, I’d love to write that. I’d never thought about writing for children—I’d never thought about aiming anything at that age group. And yet it was the thing that I was meant to write’”.

If it weren’t for an eight-year old girl named Alice, Harry Potter would never have been published.

J.K. Rowling’s agent, Christopher Little, handed the Harry Potter manuscript to Nigel Newton, founder of Bloomsbury Publishing. Newton took it home; but instead of reading it himself, he gave it to his eight-year old daughter, Alice, to read. After reading the manuscript, Alice came back to her father wanting more of the story. Newton wrote a check to J.K. Rowling for £2,500. With 500 million books sold, Bloomsbury certainly lucked out.

J.K. Rowling’s rags-to-riches story shows that you should never give up on your dream.

In 1990, J.K. Rowling came up with Harry Potter while on a delayed train from Manchester to London. At the time, she and her daughter were on welfare. She was rejected by 12 different publishers before Bloomsbury decided to publish her. When asked about being rejected, here’s what J.K. Rowling had to say about it:

If you’re wondering how many folders does J.K. Rowling own now, well…

With all she has accomplished, there are two pearls of wisdom one can take from J.K. Rowling. First, you are never too young nor too old to achieve what you always dreamed of being. Second, the tortoise always wins the race. Resiliency will get you through everything.

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