The U.K.'s best-selling living author, J.K. Rowling, turns 52 on July 31.
Joanne Rowling was born in 1965 in Yate, Gloucestershire, England. She has said she began writing as a young girl, writing fantastical stories about her sister.
Rowling doesn't have a middle name but her publishers told her it would be better to go by two initials rather than Joanne because they were afraid young readers may be put off by reading a book written by a woman. She chose "K" because her grandmother's name was Kathleen.
Rowling is known worldwide as the author of the best-selling book series in history, seven novels centered around a young wizard named Harry Potter.
Before Rowling's works began being published, she was collecting state welfare benefits. She has described that time in her life as quite difficult but also liberating as it gave her the opportunity to truly focus on her writing.
Harry Potter has become a global phenomenon. The seven novels have become eight films and Rowling has played integral roles in the creation and production of every one of them. She has also written several related works; stories, guides and supplements to go along with the Potter series. One specific novel, "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," doesn't involve Harry Potter but rather takes place in Potter's world.
Circa News caught up with Rowling on the red carpet at the premiere of "Fantastic Beasts" and asked her what, if anything, she'd like to rid the world of. Her answer is in the video below.
The Harry Potter brand is currently estimated to be worth over $15 billion. Rowling was, for a short time, worth a billion dollars herself. However, due to her generous gifts to charitable organizations, she no longer holds that distinction.
Two brand new Harry Potter books will hit shelves in October. And, if they follow in the footsteps of her last four Potter novels, they will break records for the most books sold in 24 hours.
Happy birthday, J.K. Rowling.