by Michael Brown, staff writer
The magical J.K. Rowling celebrates her 51st birthday today! The much-loved author of the Harry Potter series was born July 31, 1965 in Gloucestershire, England. Ever a fan of fantasy stories, she would use many figures and situations from her own life as the inspiration for characters and situations in Harry Potter.
The books have become global phenomena, having gained recognition for a surge in reading among children at a time when children were thought to be giving reading up for computers and television. Rowling’s incredibly successful books have spawned equally successful movie and video game adaptations and have won more awards than George and Fred Weasley in a prank contest.
The success of the franchise led her to create a website called Pottermore, a completely interactive site where fans can hang out with other fans by exploring the series in depth, reading new unpublished material. Pottermore users are also sorted into houses, buy supplies from Diagon Alley for classes at Hogwarts, and they can participate in winning the House Cup. And Rowling and company have taken great pains to make sure Pottermore is completely child friendly, a safe place for all wizards and witches to play.
After finishing her seven-volume tale of wizards and muggles, Rowling left young-adult-oriented fantasy behind and set work on writing for adults. Her next book, a political thriller of sorts, titled The Casual Vacancy, was released in September 2012, and in the first three weeks of its release it generated one million copies worldwide. The Casual Vacancy is in production as a TV miniseries to be released on BBC One.
Not stopping there, Rowling, who had wanted to write a crime novel for some time, finally got her wish. In April 2013, The Cuckoo’s Calling, her debut mystery starring private investigator Cormoran Strike, was released under her pen name Robert Galbraith, and with very good reviews. The second Cormoran Strike novel, titled The Silkworm, was released in June 2014.
Rowling will return briefly to the world she created with the upcoming film release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which is planned as a trilogy taking place 70 years prior to the events in Harry Potter.
Rowling supports a number of charities, including her own creation, the Volant Charitable Trust, which combats poverty and social inequality; supports organizations that help children, one parent families; and supports multiple sclerosis research. She is also now the president of Gingerbread, a charity that helps one-parent families: something Rowling knows a lot about.
And if all of that wasn’t enough, she indirectly helped a certain Time Lord called the Doctor when he used Harry Potter to help William Shakespeare save the world. We think it was just fiction, but, hey. Who really knows for sure?
We at SCIFI.radio would like to wish J.K. Rowling a very happy birthday, and if you’d like to make a charitable donation in her honor, we recommend you donate to one of her charities, and you don’t even need a floo network to get there.
Michael Brown is a comics nerd and a father who lives in small town Tennessee. When he’s not making his players mad in his “Shadowrun” RPG or experimenting with new and inventive uses of duct tape on his children, you can find him checking out the latest comics and movies for SCIFI.radio!