Britain’s bestselling living author and creator of the famous Harry Potter, JK Rowling has an estimated net worth of over £650 million
Joanne Rowling was born on July 31, 1965 in Yate, Gloucestershire to Peter Rowling and Anne Volant. Since she was six, she used to write fantasy stories and read them to her sister.
After graduation in 1986, Rowling took up a job at Amnesty International (London) as researcher/bilingual secretary, but soon moved to the Chamber of Commerce (Manchester), during which period she conceived the idea about the young wizard Harry Potter (1990). That December, Rowling’s mum succumbed to multiple sclerosis, after which she shifted to Portugal to teach English. Marrying TV journalist Jorge Arantes (1992) there, she gave birth to Jessica Isabel (1993). However, irreconcilable differences prompted Rowling to move to Edinburgh with Jessica.
Rowling rode out a phase of clinical depression, living on state benefits and writing in cafes, to complete her first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (1995).
After rejections from 12 publishing houses, Bloomsbury okayed it, giving Rowling a £1,500 advance, but advised her to use two initials instead of her full name as young boys were the anticipated target audience. Rowling chose Kathleen as her middle name (her paternal grandmother’s). The Scottish Arts Council granted her £8,000 to continue writing (1997). (Wikipedia)
Philosopher’s Stone saw 1,000 copies printed in 1997. Half of those, given to libraries, are valued between £16,000 and £25,000 each). The novel went on to win the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize (1997) and British Book Award (1998). Scholastic Inc. bought publishing rights in the US, in 1998, for $105,000, but changed the title to Sorcerer’s Stone. (Wikipedia)
The second novel, Chamber of Secrets (1998), won Rowling the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize again, besides the British Book Award (1999). The next, Prisoner of Azkaban (1999), won her the hat-trick of Smarties (the first author to win it) along with the first Whitbread Children’s Book of the Year award (2000) and Locus Award (2000).
Goblet of Fire (2000) broke all sales records in Britain and the US with Rowling chosen Author of the Year at the 2000 British Book Awards. The novel won the Hugo Award for Best Novel (2001).
Order of the Phoenix (2003), won the Bram Stoker Award, while the sixth, Half-Blood Prince (2005), went on to win the British Book Awards’ Book of the Year (2006).
Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final novel (2007), sold a historical 11,000,000 copies in the first 24 hours.
Other books Rowling authored include, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2001), Quidditch Through the Ages (2001), The Casual Vacancy (2012) and three novels under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, titled The Cuckoo’s Calling (2013), The Silkworm (2014) and Career of Evil (2015). A fourth, Lethal White, is in the offing.
Harry Potter cast his spell on the movie industry too, with Warner Bros. paying Rowling a seven-figure sum for film rights to the first two novels, in 1998. Soon, all seven were made into multimillion dollar blockbusters, with Rowling producing both parts of Deathly Hallows (2010 and 2011).
In 2011, Rowling collected the Michael Balcon Award for Outstanding British Contribution to Cinema at the BAFTAs.
Warner Bros. again partnered Rowling for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016), another multimillion dollar grosser produced by Rowling. The sequel is scheduled for 2018.
Rowling also collaborated with Jack Thorne and John Tiffany on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a two-part play, which successfully debuted in 2016.
The super-philanthropic Rowling donates to several charitable organisations such as The Volant Charitable Trust, the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic and Lumos. One of her handwritten/illustrated copies of The Tales of Beedle the Bard (published, 2008)—auctioned off to Amazon.com for £1.95 million in 2007—become the costliest modern book ever auctioned. Her total donations exceed £160 million.
She has also won the British Book Awards for Outstanding Achievement (2008) and the inaugural Hans Christian Andersen Literature Award (2010).
In 2004, Forbes named her the first author to cross a billion dollars and 2017’s highest paid author (with over £72 million); fortifying her £650 million net worth. However, New York Times writer James B. Stewart estimates Rowling’s net worth at £911,000,000.
Rowling owns a 19th century estate in Perth and Kinross, Scotland and a £4.5 million Georgian house in Kensington.