September 21, 2017

GREAT PEN WIELDERS

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The Fantasy Philanthropist: J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling

Whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home. - J.K. Rowling

 

The World of J.K. Rowling in 10 questions.

1.Who is J.K. Rowling and how did her work impact/influence the world we are living in now?

J.K. Rowling is a British novelist and screenwriter and the author who wrote the renowned Harry Potter series, the best-selling book series in history with over 450 million copies sold all over the world and translated into over 60 languages. But more than just selling copies, the global phenomenon, Harry Potter, has turned book releases into major events and a number of theme parks have been built based on the story in the United States.

Following the success ofHarry Potterbook series, Rowling released Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in 2001 under the pen name, Newt Scamander, about the magical creatures in the Harry Potter universe. It was adapted into a movie in 2016 as the first instalment of an announced five-film series. The film gained popularity and was the eighth highest-grossing film of 2016 and was nominated for numerous awards such 5 British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards, Best Production Design as well as two Academy Awards. The sequel is scheduled to hit theatres in November 2018 and the third film planned for November 2020.

Quidditch, a fictional game which has been featured in theHarry Potterseries, has taken off as a sport all over the world and a module that examines the Potter universe was offered as part of the programme at Durham University where it studies the social, cultural and educational context of the series and aims to understand the reason for its popularity.

To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the publication ofHarry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stonethis year,an exhibition by the British Library,Harry Potter:A History of Magic, will be held in London from 20 October 2017 till 28 February 2018. The exhibition will unveil rare books, manuscripts, original drafts and drawings as well as the magical objects from the British Library’s collection for the first time.

Rowling opened the door for children’s writers and made publishers aware that there was a market for children’s literature. She proved to a lot of writers that writing for children was a viable thing to do. Rowling is now considered to be a positive role model, affecting the lives of children with her amazing fantasy stories and training young readers in social and emotional skills. A study in 2014has found that the series, Harry Potter, was helpful in reducing kids’ latent biases.

 

2. What are her famous works that you should know about?

 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (The first novel in the Harry Potter series) - A boy named Harry Potter who learns that he is the orphaned son of two powerful wizards and possesses unique magical powers. He enrolled as a student at Hogwarts, an English boarding school for wizards where he met several friends who became his closest allies and help him discover the truth about his parents’ mysterious death. 

The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

The Casual Vacancy (2012)- Set in a suburban West Country town called Pagford, a seat on the council was vacant when Parish Councillor, Barry Fairbrother, passed on. Conflict arises before the election and factions develop on whether to dissociate a local council which Barry supported. Subsequently, the darkest secrets of those running for a place was revealed on the Parish Council online forum which ruins their campaign, leaving the election in turmoil.

3. What were her aspiration and inspiration?

Rowling’s favourite writer isJane Austen, an English novelist, where she claimed to have read all her books. Growing up, Rowling idolised Jo March, a strong-minded and ambitious person, from the novelLittle Women.

Rowling’s mother suffered from multiple sclerosis and died ten years after. Rowling had started onHarry Potter 6 month before her mother’s death but had never told her about it. The death of her mother heavily affected Rowling’s writing and she channelled her own feelings of loss by writing about Potter’s own feelings of loss in greater detail in the first book.

4. Who was inspired by her works?

Lemony Snicket, the author ofA Series of Unfortunate Events, was said to have borrowed Rowling’s stylistic imagery where he uses grey and dark green imagery like her to communicate the scenes in his novel and the characters in both novels are similar in that they are all realistic heroes plagued by a great loss.

Christopher Paolini, the author of theEragon series, admits that Rowling’s books have influenced both his life and writing and was an enthusiast of the story.

Platform 9 3/4 at King's Cross stationPlatform 9 3/4 at King's Cross station in London where one departs for Hogwarts as described in Harry Potter series.

5. How did she start writing?

Rowling wrote her first story at a tender age of six about a rabbit, titledRabbit. Subsequently, she wrote a novel about Seven Cursed Diamonds and the People Who Owned Them when she was eleven.

Harry Potter was inspired when Rowling was on a four-hour-delayed train trip from Manchester to London and the idea of a young boy attending a school of wizardry came fully formed into her mind. She began writing the story once she reached her Clapham Junction flat in Manchester.

Rowling mother’s death was a tragic event that played a big part of her decision to begin to write and make a living of being an author.

Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology ClinicAnne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic at the University of Edinburgh

6. Besides being known for a writer, what else was she interested in or famous for?

Rowling is known for her charitable works where she contributes significant sums to charities such as Anti-Poverty, Multiple Sclerosis Research and Lumos Foundation. On top of that, she created the Volant Charitable Trust in 2000 to help children and women in Scotland. The British Red Cross Humanity Award was awarded to her in 2015 for her advocacy and charity work.

In 2013, she donated £10 million to help open the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic at the University of Edinburgh. The clinic is named after her mother, who had multiple sclerosis.

Pottermore, founded by Rowling, is an official Harry Potter website that offers news, features and articles as well as new and previously unreleased writing by Rowling. Check outPottermore for more interesting extras and information that fills the gap in the book. Besides that, users can also create an account which allows them to make a more private profile, appointed a wand and a personalPatronus.

J.K. Rowling on The Simpsons in 2003J.K. Rowling on The Simpsons in 2003

7. What were some of the interesting quirks surrounding J.K. Rowling?

J.K. Rowling real name, Joanne Rowling, adopted a middle initial ‘K’ when publisher Bloomsbury suggested using her initials onHarry Potter books to attract boy readers. ‘K’ was then adopted as a tribute to her grandmother, Kathleen.

The first series ofHarry Potter manuscript was rejected by 12 publishing houses before Bloomsbury Publishing took it up.

In theHarry Potter series, Dementors, a cloaked creature that feeds on happiness, was inspired by Rowling’s clinical depression when she was a single mother at the age of 25. The sport as depicted in theHarry Potter series, Quidditch, was also an inspiration from Rowling’s favourite sport, basketball.

8. What are some of the awards she received?

The success of the original seven Harry Potter books was adapted into an 8 part film series byWarner Bros. Pictures, which became the second highest-grossing film series of all time.Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a play written by Jack Thorne based on a story co-written by Rowling, was premiered in London in 2016. It will also start playing at Broadway, theLyric Theatre in New York this month, September.

Rowling has been presented multiple awards such as the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize, British Book Awards, Author of the Year, Locus Award, Hugo Award for Best Novel and British Academy Film Awards for her novel, Harry Potter. She was also awarded an Order of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List which acknowledged her contribution in the field of art, science, charity and public service.

Rowling was named runner-up by Timemagazine for 2007 Person of the Year as well, noting the social, moral, and political influence to others. In 2010, she was also named the “Most Influential Woman in Britain” by leading magazine editors.

9. How did critics react to her work?

Amanda Craig, a novelist and children’s critic, describe Rowling works as “wonderfully eccentric” and mentioned that Rowling reasserts the primacy of storytelling with well-depicted use of myth and fairy tale and brilliant clarity in her writing.

Some critics commented that her most famous novel,Harry Potter, was a one-dimensional children’s books and although entertaining, the lessons were shallow as the motivation for most characters appears to be mainly revenge. The story was well told but it lacks subtlety and was written awkwardly.

In addition, some found the first two series ofHarry Potter to be extremely derivative as many of the elements found in the story could be seen in other novels.

In 2003, she made a cameo on The Simpsons in an episode.

The Cormoran Strike Detective Series by Robert Galbraith

The Cormoran Strike Detective Series- A classic contemporary crime fiction set in London, where a surly war veteran turned private detective, Cormoran Strike, solve brutal murders with the help of his trusted assistant Robin Ellacott.

10. What other works did she author that few people knew about?

J.K. Rowling also wroteThe Cormoran Strike Detective Series under a pseudonym name,Robert Galbraith. The crime series has three instalments:The Cuckoo’s Calling,The Silkworm, andCareer of Evil.

 

Did Rowling’s stories strike a chord with your innerself? Have you read her novels yet? What are your thoughts regarding it? Let us know in the comments below.

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GREAT PEN WIELDERSis a monthly series that sets out to celebrate amazing writers, authors, novelists and illustrators whose beliefs, passions and talents inspired and changed the world we live in today. We believe that their stories and life experiences will foster Gnome & Bow’s vision to inspire storytelling without boundaries.

 


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