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Author of the Month

J.K. Rowling

Joanne Kathleen Rowling was born on 31st July 1965, where she grew up surrounded by books as her mum and dad 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 she wanted to be a writer, penning her first book at the age of six, a story about a rabbit called Rabbit

Joanne studied French and Classics at the University of Exeter. Her Classics studies would come in very handy later when she was thinking up all the spells in Harry Potter, some of which are based on Latin. 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 began to plan out the seven books of the series. She wrote mostly in longhand and amassed a mountain of notes, many of which were on scraps of paper.

In 1993 she had a baby daughter, Jessica, but she continued to write Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone in every spare moment she could find. She sent the first three chapters of the finished manuscript 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’.



Out this month: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone: Illustrated Edition

Prepare to be spellbound by Jim Kay's dazzling depiction of the wizarding world and much-loved characters in this full-colour illustrated hardback edition of the nation's favourite children's book - Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Brimming with rich detail and humour that perfectly complements J.K. Rowling's timeless classic, Jim Kay's glorious illustrations will captivate fans and new readers alike.

When a letter arrives for unhappy but ordinary Harry Potter, a decade-old secret is revealed to him that apparently he's the last to know. His parents were wizards, killed by a Dark Lord's curse when Harry was just a baby, and which he somehow survived. Leaving his unsympathetic aunt and uncle for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, Harry stumbles upon a sinister mystery when he finds a three-headed dog guarding a room on the third floor. Then he hears of a missing stone with astonishing powers, which could be valuable, dangerous - or both.

An incredible adventure is about to begin!

Click here to see beautiful artwork previews from inside this book.

Harry Potter: facts & figures

The first Harry Potter book was accepted for publication by Bloomsbury while JK Rowling was training to be a teacher.

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.

The Harry Potter series is now published in 78 languages, and over 450 million copies have been sold across the world.

J.K. Rowling has also written three companion volumes in aid of charity: Quidditch Through the Ages, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, and The Tales of Beedle the Bard.

All seven Harry Potter books have been adapted into highly successful box-office-smashing films, and are collected here on DVD in the Harry Potter: the Complete 8 Film Collection.

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