J.K.Rowling - The mastermind behind Harry!
What the name of JK Rowling immediately conjures the image of, is Harry Potter, and this is a unanimous response. This phenomenal British writer has become a celebrity of sorts after authoring the cult fantasy series of Harry Potter. The Potter books have not only met with incredible worldwide popularity, multiple awards and an unparalleled readership, the series has also been translated onto screen which has become the highest-grossing film series in history.
Rowling conceived the idea of this path-breaking series while she was working as a researcher and bilingual secretary for Amnesty International; interestingly the idea struck her while she was caught up in a delayed train from Manchester to London in 1990. Following this, she saw many lows in her personal front – the death of her mother, divorce from her first husband, and poverty, until she finally gave shape to her first novel,
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone that led the series, in 1997. Subsequently, she published 7 sequels – 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. These have become the fastest-selling books of all times and have broken many a record of flying off the shelves. It has now acquired a brand status and the series has been translated into 65 languages, which itself speak of the universal appeal of the books. The books rose to unprecedented recognition at a time just when children were thought to be forsaking books and yielding to the attractions of the television and the computer. Rowling boasts of having a ‘rags to riches’ story in her own life, whereby she, who once had lived on state benefits, went on to attain multi-millionaire status in five years.
Harry Potter has won her several awards in the course of its wonderful journey- the first being the Nestle Smarties Book Prize, followed by the prestigious British Book Award, Whitbread’s Children’s Book of the Year award, and many other such laurels. As far as the movies based on the novels are concerned, Rowling has always had creative control over them through the entire process, right from reviewing the scripts to acting as a producer. Recently, she has authored a book targeted at adults, titled The Casual Vacancy, which released in September 2012 and received worldwide success. Currently, she is reported to be working on two books intended for a young readership, younger even than that of the Harry Potter series, as well as one meant for adult readers.
Besides her prolific and prosperous career as an author, what many people do not know about her is that she is also involved in several philanthropic causes. To cite a few, she established the Volant Charitable Trust in 2000, which utilizes a large amount of its annual budget to combat social inequality. She is also closely associated with many groups, fund-raising bodies and organizations that fight for children’s welfare and to eradicate poverty; these include Gingerbread, Comic Relief and others. She has also contributed both on a financial as well as personal level for the research and treatment purpose of multiple sclerosis, a disease that her mother died of.
She has received many honorary degrees from various reputed universities like, Harvard University, St. Andrews University, the University of Edinburgh etc., apart from innumerable other such awards that she has time and again been felicitated with owing to her illustrious contribution to the world of contemporary literature. She has also featured many times of certain globally-acknowledged list, some of which are as follows-
Forbes ranked her as the 48th most powerful celebrity of 2007; the TIME magazine named her as a runner-up for its list of Person of the Year in 2008 and so on.
Thus, apart from being the favourite author of many, she also has to her credit many humanitarian deeds that speak volumes of her magnanimity! She is indeed the role-model to many women out there, and her journey can inspire millions as one discovers how she braved several odds in her personal life, and still managed to reach the pinnacle of success and glory.