Joanne Rowling , better known by her pen name J. K. Rowling, is a British author, film producer, television producer, screenwriter, and philanthropist. She is best known for writing the Harry Potter fantasy series, which has won multiple awards and sold more than 500 million copies, becoming the best-selling book series in history. The books are the basis of a popular film series, over which Rowling had overall approval on the scripts and was a producer on the final films. She also writes crime fiction under the name Robert Galbraith.
Born in Yate, Gloucestershire, Rowling was working as a researcher and bilingual secretary for Amnesty International when she conceived the idea for the Harry Potter series while on a delayed train from Manchester to London in 1990. The seven-year period that followed saw the death of her mother, birth of her first child, divorce from her first husband, and relative poverty until the first novel in the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, was published in 1997. There were six sequels, of which the last, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was released in 2007. Since then, Rowling has written five books for adult readers: The Casual Vacancy (2012) and—under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith—the crime fiction Cormoran Strike series, which consists of The Cuckoo's Calling (2013), The Silkworm (2014), Career of Evil (2015), and Lethal White (2018).
Rowling has lived a "rags to riches" life in which she progressed from living on benefits to being named the world's first billionaire author by Forbes. However, Rowling disputed the assertion, saying she was not a billionaire. Forbes reported that she lost her billionaire status after giving away much of her earnings to charity but remains one of the wealthiest people in the world. She is the UK's best-selling living author, with sales in excess of £238 million. The 2019 Sunday Times Rich List estimated Rowling's fortune at £750 million, ranking her as the joint 191st richest person in the UK.