J.K. Rowling, the author of the super successful fantasy series, the Harry Porter, is a British novelist, screenwriter, television and film producer and philanthropist. She has received numerous awards for her work that has been appreciated world over. The Harry Porter series, that brought her to the limelight, created history by becoming the best-selling book series worldwide. So immense was the popularity of these books that these were soon incorporated into films.
However, things were not always this smooth for Rowling. Her’s is a story that shall certainly inspire you to keep working hard and never give up as success comes to those who keep trying and keep going despite failing repeatedly.
Rowling was born on the 31st of July 1965 in Yate, Gloucestershire, England. Her father, Peter James Rowling was a Rolls-Royce aircraft engineer and her mother Anne Rowling was a science technician.
As a child, Rowling was fond of fantasy stories and often read them to her younger sister Dianne. During her teenage, she received a copy of Hons and Rebels, the autobiography of Jessica Mitford. Rowling was highly inspired by Mitford who became her role model in no time. Her writing interested Rowling and she read all her books. Rowling’s teenage years were emotionally disturbing because of her strained relationship with her father and her mother’s prolonged illness.
Rowling pursued B.A. in French and Classics at the University of Exeter. After graduating from the University of Exeter in the year 1986, she moved to London where she took up the role of a researcher and bilingual secretary for Amnesty International. In 1988 she wrote a short essay, “What was the Name of that Nymph Again? Or Greek and Roman Studies Recalled” that was published in the University of Exeter’s journal, Pegasus. After some time, Rowling decided to move to Manchester with her then boyfriend.
The idea of writing about a young boy attending a wizardry school came to her mind in 1990. She began writing on it and after her mother’s death later that year she channelized all her energy towards her writing.
She soon moved to Porto, Portugal where she began working as a teacher. She taught at night and wrote during the day time. She married a Portuguese journalist Jorge Arantes in 1992. Rowling gave birth to a beautiful girl child in July 1993 and named her Jessica Isabel Rowling Arantes. The birth of their child was followed by their separation in November 1993. It is said that Rowling suffered domestic abuse during her marriage. Things were tough for Rowlings during her marriage as well as after divorce. She was now divorced, jobless and mother of a dependent child. She was emotionally drained and saw herself as a failure in life. She was diagnosed with clinical depression during this time and wanted to commit suicide as she saw no hope.
However, interestingly she described her failure to be liberating. All this gave her the time to focus on her writing. She signed up for welfare benefits and began a teacher training course in August 1995 and also continued to write. In 1995, Rowling finished the manuscript of her first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. She submitted it to as many as twelve publishing houses only to get rejected by them. However, she did not lose hope and finally got a positive response from Barry Cunningham from Bloomsbury who also suggested Rowling to take up a job as he saw little scope of her making money through the book.
The book saw an overwhelming response and five months later it won its first award, a Nestle Smarties Book Prize. It later won the British Book Award for Children’s Book of the year and the rest as they say is history.
Rowling kept going despite facing failure at several stages of her life and eventually climbed the ladder to success. We salute her never say die spirit!