J. K. Rowling’s Survives over Extreme Poverty, Domestic Violence and Divorce

A Short Biography of Joanne Rowling

J.K. Rowling grew up surrounded by books because both her parents loved reading. She says, ‘I lived for books … I was your basic common-or-garden bookworm, complete with freckles and National Health spectacles.’  From an early age Joanne wanted to be a writer. She wrote her first book at the age of six, which tells a story about a rabbit. Then when she was eleven she wrote a novel about seven cursed diamonds and the people who owned them.


J.K. Rowling first had the idea for Harry Potter while delayed on a train traveling from Manchester to London King’s Cross in 1990. Over the next five years, she wrote mostly in longhand and amassed a mountain of notes, many of which were on scraps of paper.


She became a mother and she continued to write in every spare moment she could find. When Joanne had finished the manuscript, she sent the first three chapters to a number of literary agents, one of whom wrote back asking to see the rest of it. She says that it was ‘the best letter I had ever received in my life’.


She had worked a series of temp jobs since earning her French degree at the University of Exeter. Everything abruptly changed after her mother, Anne, succumbed to a decade-plus battle with multiple sclerosis at age 45. Devastated, Rowling sought refuge in the thrill of a new, adventurous life, and moved to Portugal to teach English.


Rowling soon discovered she was pregnant and had a miscarriage. And she married Arantes in October 1992. She was pregnant again and she gave birth to a baby girl named Jessica. Her marriage turned out to be an abusive relationship. The final straw came  in November 1993 that Arantes slapped his wife and threw her out of the home without her daughter. Rowling returned with a police presence to take her daughter.


Upon returning to the U.K., she secured a small apartment and a weekly stipend. She accepted a friend’s loan for a deposit and began spending her days at her brother-in-law’s café and she never stops writing.


Barely getting by with the help of friends and family – “as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless,” she later described it – Rowling found herself increasingly depressed, angry over her failures and guilty about her inability to provide for her daughter. Arantes showed up in an attempt to reconcile and he retreated after Rowling obtained a restraining order. She didn’t allow herself to embrace the abusive relationship again for the sake of economic stability. 


Rowling was trapped by poverty and desperation and she was harboring thoughts of suicide, Rowling realized she needed to put herself together for the sake of her own daughter. Her emotion improved after therapy, and she set her sights on a one-year teaching training course.


#Publishers rejected the first ‘Harry Potter’ book
Upon completing her manuscript in 1995. Following a dozen rejections from the publishers, she finally found a taker in London publishing house Bloomsbury, which offered a £1,500 advance. Rowling also snagged an £8,000 grant from the Scottish Arts Council, which supports her to finish a Harry Potter sequel on a brand-new typewriter.


On June 26, 1997, she was now known as “J.K. Rowling,” due to concerns about how boys would respond to a female writer. ‘I remember 20 years ago not eating so my daughter would eat. I remember nights when there was literally no money....I’m an emotional person. I struggle with that a lot in this kind of situation. ,’ said JK Rowling and she was close to tears. 


Rowling has been making secret visits to see her charity’s work in Moldova, the Czech Republic, Ukraine and Romania.  ‘We must bring about lasting change so such atrocities no longer take place. The ex-communist mindset – that the State should take children and put them in a dustbin – must be made a thing of the past,’ she says. ‘I always had an interest in the excluded – and certainly children with special needs – because I taught them for a while,’ said JK Rowling.


After finishing the first book and whilst training as a teacher, Harry Potter was accepted for publication by Bloomsbury. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone quickly became a bestseller on publication in 1997. And the book was translated into other languages and started spreading around the globe. In 2007 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows became the fastest-selling book ever, selling 2.65 million in the first 24 hours in the UK. 

image source: Author of Harry Potter


Rowling was named the first billionaire author by Forbes. In 2012, she gave away most of her money to charity. It is said that she donated over $160 million since she rose to fame.

One of her biggest charities was to protect children without homes. She spoke about her decision to create the foundation in an interview. She was largely influenced by a disturbing story that kids were kept in cages. According to the Lumos Foundation’s website, most children that end up in orphanages aren’t all orphans, many of them are those who have disabilities and their families can’t afford to treat so they sent the kids to the orphans instead. So Lumos takes donations to help these kids stay with their parents.


Altogether,  she has no interest in wealth-accumulation. Instead, she is doing her best to make a positive impact on the world. 

After wrapping up the Harry Potter series, Rowling wrote her first novel for adults, dealing with intense rape and domestic abuse scenes. Regardless of the harsh criticisms and poor reviews from the critics, the book still managed to fly off shelves in both the U.K. and the U.S.

A few years after the release of The Casual Vacancy, HBO released a miniseries in Britain under the same title.  This time, The New York Times drastically changed their tone, saying the book was “more interesting than it is enjoyable.” 




Rowling was asked by her first British publisher to use her initials when the first edition of Sorcerer’s Apprentice/Stone was released. The publisher asked her to go by J.K. Rowling rather than use her full first name (Joanne) because they suppose the book would only appeal to boys. And the publisher suppose a female author would affect the sales.

During an interview saying,  she mentioned “they said to me ‘could we use your initials’ and I said ‘fine’. I only have one initial. I don’t have a middle name. So I took my favorite grandmother’s name, Kathleen.”


Rowling wrote a crime-fiction series under the name Robert Galbraith, so the potential readers would think she was a man. The Cuckoo’s Calling was released with a small number and sold just 500 hardcover copies in its first few months in bookstores. According to the New York Times, the bookstores were even contemplating sending books back to the publisher. Things change. After the author’s true identity was revealed by The Sunday Times, the sales for the book magically skyrocketed.


Yes, Rowling’s disguise was short-lived. There’s no secret can be kept forever in the world. People are bad at guard other people’s secrets, not even their own secrets. 


Apparent, Rowling’s life is not a fairy tale. There’s also a lot of suffering, grief and heartache, much like anybody. Like many kids,  Rowling didn’t have a good relationship with her father when she was growing up. According to The New Yorker, Rowling cut off all contact with her father in 2003. But her father Peter Rowling was eager to share what happened between him and his daughter to the world.

 It is said that her father complained that his daughter didn’t bail out his burger van business, or assist him financially.  Rowling is being generous to donate her money to the world. She is absolutely not the one who is obsessed with wealth-accumulated. Thus, I suppose she might hold hatred or anger against her father for certain reasons. That’s why she would rather donate most of her money to strangers and she is unwilling to have any connection wither her father.


We never have the chance to choose our parents. Some people have irresponsible parents, or parents who commit cheating, domestic violence or child abuse. Too numerous to mention. As to unhappy families, it’s complicated, too many possibilities and too many sad stories. By the way, there are rumors circulating that one of the more offensive characters in The Casual Vacancy was based on Rowling’s father.


Evidently, Rowling do her best to give her money away to the less fortunate, the weak or the vulnerable. It is reported that Peter Rowling had put several first editions of his daughter’s books up for sale, all which were a daughter’s gifted to a father, one was a Father’s Day present signed “Lots of love from your firstborn.” And it turned out that the first-edition copy of Goblet of Fire was sold for an insulting price of $48,000. Understandably, Rowling was upset or emotionally wounded.

Reported, they made peace in 2012 after nearly a decade of silence and estrangement. However, Rowling herself has never commented on the news. 

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