Rowling, J. K. (Joanne Kathleen Rowling)rôlˈĭing, rōlˈ–, 1965–, English author known for her popular children's books, b. Chipping Sodbury, grad. Exeter Univ. (1986). While unemployed she completed Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (1996), the first in a series of vivid tales chronicling the coming-of-age adventures and perils of a young wizard and his friends at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Published in the United States as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (1998, film 2001), it attracted a huge international readership. The rest of the series (and films based on them) soon followed— Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998, film 2002), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999, film 2004), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000, film 2005), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003, film 2007), Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2005, film 2009), and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2007, filmed in two parts 2010 and 2011)—making Rowling one of the world's most successful and wealthiest authors. Her books, which appeal to both young and adult audiences, are widely credited with reviving the practice of reading in many children. After more than a decade describing the fantasy world of Harry Potter, Rowling wrote her first novel for an adult audience, The Casual Vacancy (2012), a black comedy that reveals the conflicts beneath the surface of life in a contemporary English village. It was followed by a mystery, The Cuckoo's Calling (2013), published under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith but soon revealed as her work.
See biographies by S. Smith (2001), W. Compson (2003), C. A. Kirk (2003), C. C. Lovett (2003), and C. A. Sexton (2005); studies by J. Granger (2002), G. L. Anatol, ed. (2003), E. Heilman, ed. (2003), J. Houghton (2003), G. Wiener, ed. (2003), D. Baggett and S. E. Klein, ed. (2004), G. W. Beahm (2004), and M. Lackey, ed. (2006).