Gifted English II
3 September 2014
The Remarkable Writing and Career of Rowling
Joanne “Jo” Rowling, also popularly known by her pen name J.K. Rowling, was the first-born daughter of James and Anne Rowling, born in Yate, Gloucestershire, England on July 31, 1965. Ever since she was a child, Rowling knew her dream was to become a writer; when she was only six years old, she wrote her first short book Rabbit. However, Rowling says that she remembers wanting to read “‘absolutely anything,’” and due to this, she aimed to create fun and interesting books that young children could enjoy (Think Jam). Through her most popular series Harry Potter, she was able to spark the imagination of millions of kids, like herself, around the world, influencing them to read. In fact, a survey done by Scholastic, Rowling publishing company, in 2008 showed that “three out of four kids said that reading a Harry Potter book has made them interested in reading other books, too” (Friedman). To this day, Rowling continues to write, focusing on making creative and amusing books that will not only grab children’s attention and provoke them to read, but will also to motivate them to write.
Among Rowling’s many influences, she says that Jessica Mitford “has been my heroine since I was 14 years old”; Rowling admired that she was “rebellious, brave, adventurous, funny and irreverent” (“The First It Girl”). Rowling’s mother also played a significant role in her writing. In 1980, her mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and eventually died, devastating both Rowling and her family. Not only did this affect Rowling, but it also affected her story of a boy who would lose his parents at an early age, too—Harry Potter (Think Jam). Rowling said, “the essential plot didn’t change after my mother died, but everything deepened and darkened.” Rowling’s life also played a key role in her literature. Her mother’s death caused strain with her relationship with her father. Later, Rowling divorced her husband, leaving her as a single mother and, also, forcing her to move to Portugal with only her baby (“Magical World”). She incorporated many of her life events into the details and character of Harry. “Rowling calls her time with Harry ‘one of the longest relationships of my adult life,’[—]her rock through bereavement, a turbulent marriage and divorce, single motherhood, changes of country, fear of failure” says Gibbs of Time. In addition, other influences of Rowling have been The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, The Little White House by Elizabeth Goudge, Manxmouse by Paul Gallico, and Emma by Jane Austen (Think Jam). Rowling recalls traveling to London one day when “the idea for Harry Potter simply fell into [her] head.” She described her story being about a “scrawny, black-haired, bespectacled boy who didn’t know he was a wizard.” The evening of that same day, she began writing the first few pages of what would be Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone. After typing up the Harry Potter manuscript, she sent it off to an agent hoping to publish it. She was given a reply a few years later in 1996 that Harry Potter was accepted. However, she was advised to get another job because her agent told her “there’s [is a] very little chance of making money in children’s books.” Fortunately, though, with the help of a grant of £8,000, Rowling was able to have her first book officially published, look after her daughter, Jessica, and continue on the next book in her Harry Potter series, The Chamber of Secrets (Think Jam). Later in Rowling’s career on July 8, 2000, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire broke first print records in both the United Kingdom and the United States and remained at the top of the bestsellers chart for several weeks; The Goblet of Fire was considered to be “a major breakthrough for both her and her writings,” and also the most popular book she has written (“Wagga Lawyer” and Think Jam). In The Goblet of Fire, Harry