Born in Yate, Gloucestershire, England, Joanne Rowling was working as a researcher and bilingual secretary for Amnesty International when she conceived the idea for the Harry Potter series while on a delayed train from Manchester to London in 1990.
Known worldwide as J.K Rowling, she has lived a true ‘rags to riches’ life story, in which she progressed from living on state benefits to being the world’s first billionaire author. She has lost her billionaire status from giving away much of her earnings to charity. Even though she is no longer a billionaire, she is still one of the wealthiest people in the world. She is the United Kingdom’s best-selling living author.
On poverty, she is famously quoted as saying ‘(Poverty) is not an ennobling experience. Poverty entails fear and stress and sometimes depression. It means a thousand petty humiliations and hardship.’ J.K Rowling has worked with Amnesty International, is the honorary president of Gingerbread — a charity supporting one parent families — and has supported the Multiple Sclerosis Society, Scotland for many years. In 2015, Rowling founded Lumos, (previously known as the Children’s High-Level Group) an organisation which seeks to “end the systematic institutionalization of children across Europe and help them find safer, more caring places to live.” She also has her own charitable trust, Volant which supports organisations fighting social deprivation for women and children.
In 2008, she donated £1 million to Gordon Brown’s Labour Party, but in recent years her political activism has become more public with her opposition to both Brexit and Scottish independence. The Harry Potter creator has also been one of the leading pro-EU voices on social media.
Her strong affinity with youth, born from the creation of one of the world’s most loved characters has given her the ability to reach out to young people in a way that few others can.