From being a jobless single mother to a billionaire, J.K. Rowling is the perfect example of the “rags to riches” story. Her Harry Potter novels made her an overnight sensation and she became one of the world’s most influential persons. Even though her biographies are easily available now there are a few aspects of her life which are relatively unknown. In this article, we have brought you ten facts about J.K. Rowling’s life you probably didn’t know.
1. Since her childhood, J.K. Rowling loved to read and especially loved the fantasy books her parents read to her. She began creating her own stories and wrote her first story when she was six years old.
As a little girl, J.K. Rowling loved reading and writing stories. She often wrote fantasy stories and then narrated them to her little sister Dianne. At the age of six, she wrote her first book. It was about a rabbit named Rabbit. When her mother praised her work, she stood there and thought, ‘Well, get it published then’.(1,2)
2. J.K. Rowling had a strained relationship with her father during her teenage years. Later a rift came into their relationship when her father sold a collection of rare, signed Harry Potter first editions in 2003.
According to J.K. Rowling, her teenage years were unhappy. One of the main reason was the strained relationship with her father with whom she was not on speaking terms. Their relationship fell out in 2003 when her father sold a collection of rare Harry Potter first editions. According to her father, Peter Rowling, he took this step when his daughter refused to help him to settle his £100,000 business debt. These first editions are rare and one even bears a personal note, “Happy Father’s Day 2000 and lots of love from your first-born, J. K. Rowling.”(1,2)
3. J.K. Rowling’s first husband was a Portuguese journalist who claimed that he was the first to read Harry Potter. Their marriage fell apart within a year when he forced her out of the apartment at five in the morning.
J.K. Rowling met her first husband, Jorge Arantes, when she went to Portugal to teach English as a foreign language. They met in a bar and bonded over Jane Austen. They got married on 16 October 1992 when she got pregnant with their daughter Jessica. Two months after the birth of their child, Jorge Arantes ordered his wife out of their apartment. When she refused to go without her daughter, Jorge dragged her out of the house at five in the morning and slapped her hard in in the middle of the street.
According to Jorge Arantes, J.K. Rowling had begun writing the Harry Potter books when she was pregnant the first time. She kept it a secret and later showed them to him. He now claims he was the first person to read about Harry Potter. He also claims that he helped Rowling frame the Harry Potter stories.(source)
4. Seven years after graduation, J.K. Rowling considered herself a failure due to her failed marriage along with being jobless with a dependent child. She was diagnosed with depression and even contemplated suicide during this period.
J.K. Rowling graduated from the University of Exter in 1986. Since then she worked at various jobs but seven years later she ended up jobless and a single parent with no source of income. By then, her first marriage had also failed and she was diagnosed with clinical depression. During this period, she even contemplated suicide. She later describes her failure as liberating as it allowed her to focus on writing.(source)
5. While working as a secretary, J.K. Rowling had a habit of losing herself in the stories she was writing down and neglecting her work. This led to her being fired from the job.
In 1986, J.K. Rowling graduated and moved to London to work as a secretary for Amnesty International. Instead of doing the work. however, she preferred listening to The Smiths and read Dickens and Tolkien. Since she wanted to be a writer, she secretly wrote stories on her work computer. She even daydreamed about a teenage wizard named Harry Potter during her work hours. When her employers got fed up with her, they fired her.(1,2)