We bookish folk both muggle and magical are no strangers to J.K. Rowling. Despite the following fame and even some fandom controversy (it comes with the territory), Joanne has long been one of the most accomplished and giving authors in the industry. She's an annual donator to a list of worldwide charities, including her very own Lumos Foundation and the Volant Charitable Trust. The Lumos Foundation works to stop and prevent children from being held in institutions, while the Volant Charitable Trust benefits multiple organizations such as the Disasters Emergency Committee, Save the Children, and Christian Aid.
With the Queen of the Wizarding World's birthday coming up fast, we've decided to celebrate with some magical Rowling trivia! Some of our gathered factoids might be little-known, some old news—but we hope you learn something new about one of our favorite authors and the Harry Potter series.
Did you know...
8. Dual Birthdays: J.K. and Harry Potter celebrate the same birthday—July 31st. she was born to Peter James and Anne Rowling on July 31st, 1965 in Gloucestershire, England.
7. Significance of King's Cross: In the Wizarding World, Hogwarts students catch their school train from Platform Nine and Three-Quarters at King's Cross. The iconic London train station is in fact where Rowling's parents met for the first time when they were 18 years old.
6. A struggling artist: While she finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's (or Philosopher's) Stone, Rowling did not have a source of income and had received welfare benefits. At the time, she was a hard-workingsingle mother living with her sister's family in Edinburgh.
5. A life of learning: Rowling attended secondary school at Wyedean School and College. She obtained a BA in French & Classics at the University of Exeter, the went on to study for a year in Paris.
4. Notes on a napkin: She initially jotted her ideas for the Harry Potter series down on a napkin on a delayed train to Manchester.
3. Writer's fuel: Like a lot of us writers, Rowling took to the ambiance of cafes for her writing. She completed her first novel sitting in different cafes and restaurants; in a December 2001 BBC TV interview special, Rowling noted she wrote most of the Philosopher's Stone from Nicholson's Cafe in Edinburgh. According to Rowling, they were "pretty tolerant" of her presence because at the time, her brother-in-law owned the cafe.
2. Pen name: Publishers were afraid that the book wouldn't be as popular had readers known it was written by a woman, so they suggested she change her author name from Joanne Rowling to J.K.
1. Big break: The first Harry Potter manuscript was rejected by a handful of publishing houses (twelve) before landing in Bloomsbury editor Nigel Newton's lap. It remained a "maybe" until Newton brought the sample chapters of Rowling's manuscript home for his 8 year-old daughter Alice, who then begged him for more. Thanks, little Alice!