J. K. (Joanne Kathleen) Rowling, July 31, 1965 J. K. Rowling was born at Chipping Sodbury General Hospital in Gloucestershire, U. K. on July 31, 1965 to Anne and Peter Rowling. Two years later, her sister Dianne was born. Rowling attended Tutshill Primary and then went on to Wyedean Comprehensive where she was made Head Girl in her final year. Her University years she spent at Exeter University, where she received a degree in French. She later took some teaching classes at Moray House Teacher Training College and a teacher-training course in Manchester, England. This extensive education created a perfect foundation to spark the Harry Potter series that Rowling is renowned for. After college, Rowling moved to London to work for Amnesty International, where she researched human rights abuses in Francophone Africa, and worked as a bilingual secretary. In 1992, Rowling quit office work to move to Portugal and teach English as a Second Language. There she met and married her husband, a Portuguese TV journalist. But the marriage dissolved soon after the birth of their daughter, Jessica. It was after her stint teaching in Portugal that Rowling began to write the premise for Harry Potter. She returned to Britain and settled in Edinburgh to be near her sister Di, and attempted to at least finish her book, before looking for another teaching job. Rowling was in fact working as a French teacher in June of 1997 when she heard the news that her book would soon be published by London agent Christopher Little, in association with Bloomsbury Children's Books. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was published in June of 1997 and was an overnight sensation. It won the British Book Awards Children's Book of the Year and was shortlisted for the Guardian Fiction Award. Her first book also received a "Commended" citation in the Carnegie Medal awards. She also received 8,000 pounds from the Scottish Arts Council, which contributed to the finishing touches on The Chamber of Secrets. Rowling continued on to win the Smarties Book Prize three years in a row, the only author ever to do so. At the Bologna Book Fair, Arthur Levine from Scholastic Books, bought the American rights to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone for the unprecedented amount of $105,000.00. The book was retitled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for it's American release, and proceeded to top the Best Seller's lists for children's and adult books. The American edition won Best of the Year in the School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Parenting Magazine and the Cooperative Children's Book Center. It was also noted as an ALA Notable Children's Book as well as Number One on the Top Ten of ALA's Best Books for Young Adults. Her consecutive books in the series, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, have taken first, second and third place on the New York Times Bestseller List for three years in a row. Rowling planned on the series being a culmination of seven books, one for each year of the main character's attendance at the Wizard's School. In a promising development for the new author, Warner Brothers bought the movie rights to the first two books of Harry Potter for a very substantial amount of money and has turned out three very successful installments of movies faithfully based on the books.