(born July 31, 1965, Chipping Sodbury, near Bristol, Eng.) British author, creator of the popular and critically acclaimed Harry Potter series. The first book in the seven-volume series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (also published as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone), was published in 1997. Featuring vivid descriptions and an imaginative story line, the book followed the unlikely hero Harry Potter, a lonely orphan who discovers that he is actually a wizard. The book was an immediate success, appealing to both children (its intended audience) and adults. Succeeding volumes—Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (1998), Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (1999), Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2000), Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2003), and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2005)—were also best sellers. In 2007 the final book in the series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was published. Rowling was credited with renewing children's interest in reading, and in 2001 she was appointed OBE (Officer of the British Empire). That year also marked the release of the film adaptation of the first Harry Potter book. It became one of the top-grossing movies in the world, and subsequent volumes were also made into highly successful films. In 2008 Rowling published The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a collection of fairy tales.
Learn more about Rowling, J(oanne) K(athleen) with a free trial on Britannica.com.