Hello, my name is Aoife O’Neill and welcome to my Grade Six portfolio. The theme is based on a twentieth century literary figure, and for this, I have chosen J.K Rowling. This, for me, was an obvious choice. As I grew up, and still at my age, the excitement and anticipation for a book a J.K Rowling’s is unbelievable. In 2007, at the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I remember waking up early; to get in line, just to buy this new book. Numerous copies were bought among my family, because no one wanted to wait to hear the end of their favourite characters. The day was spent in silence, everyone reading the book, anticipating the end. I think this shows Rowling’s solid position as a literary figure, how she excites the nation with a book. J.K Rowling remains as one of my favourite authors, and I feel her books have changed the literary world. She is arguably of the most famous authors in the world. As creator of the Harry Potter series, along with other books, Rowling has inspired millions around the world. According to recent polls, J.K Rowling is the most influential author in Britain, and 3rd most inspirational woman. The internationally beloved author is a woman who in just 5 years, turned from being a single mother to a multi-millionaire, to become author of the best-selling series in the world. From the ages of nine to ninety, the works of J.K Rowling have been loved and enjoyed. The reasons above, among many others, are why I have chosen to base my portfolio upon J.K Rowling. I hope you enjoy it!
Rowling’s List of Work
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Quidditch through the Ages
The Tales of the Beedle and the Bard
The Casual Vacancy
And many other short stories, including Harry Potter: The Prequel.
Biography of Rowling’s Life
J.K Rowling was born in Chipping Sodury, July 31st 1965.
J.K.Rowling studied at a school in Gloucestershire, before moving to Chepstow, South Wales at the age of nine. From an early age, J.K. Rowling had an ambition to be a writer. She often tried her hand at writing, although little came from her early efforts. After finishing school, her parents encouraged her to study French at the University of Exeter. She slightly regretted choosing French, saying she would have preferred to study English. After having spent a year in Paris, J.K.Rowling graduated from university and took various jobs in London. One of her favourite jobs was working for Amnesty International; the charity, which campaigns against human rights abuses throughout the world. Amnesty International, is one of the many charities, which J.K.Rowling has generously supported since she attained a new found wealth. It was in 1990, that J.K.Rowling first conceived of the idea about Harry Potter. As she recalls, it was on a long train journey from London to Manchester when she began forming in her mind, the characters of the series. At the forefront, was a young boy, not aware that he was a wizard. The train was delayed for over four hours, but she didn’t have a pen and was too shy to ask for one, so nothing was written down. On arriving in Manchester, she began work on writing the book immediately, although, it would take several years to come to fruition. In December of 1990 that Rowling lost her mother, who died of Multiple Sclerosis. Rowling was very close to her mother, and she felt the loss deeply. Her own loss gave an added poignancy to the death of Harry Potter’s mother in her book. In 1991, Rowling left England to get a job as an English teacher in Portugal. It was here that she met her first husband, and together they had a child Jessica. However, after a couple of years, the couple split after a fierce argument; where by all accounts Rowling was thrown out of the house. She returned to England in 1994; still trying to finish her first book. She was also working full time, and bringing up her daughter as a single parent. Eventually, she finished her first copy, and sent it off to various agents. Eventually, a quite small publisher, Bloomsbury agreed to take the book on. The decision to take on the book was, in large part, due to his eight year old daughter’s enthusiastic reception of the first chapter. Interestingly, Rowling was advised to remain a teacher, as children’s authors are unlikely to be well paid. Within a few weeks of publication, (1996) the book sales really started to take off.. She also received a grant from the Scottish arts council, which enabled her to write full time. After the books initial success in the UK, an American company Scholastic agreed to pay a remarkable £100,000 for the rights to publish in America. In 1998, Warner Bros secured the film rights for the books, giving a seven figure sum. The films have magnified the success of the books, making Harry Potter into one of the most recognisable media products. On December 26, 2001, J.K. Rowling married anesthetist Dr. Neil Murray at the couple's home in Scotland. They have two children together, David and Mackenzie. On the 21st December 2006, J.K.Rowling finished her final book of the Harry Potter Series – "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". The book was released in July 2007, becoming one of the fastest selling books of all time. Although J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series is finished, the author continues to work on more written works. The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a collection of five fables mentioned in the Harry Potter book series, was released on November 4, 2008—at a tea party for 200 schoolchildren at the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh. Rowling donated all royalties from the book to the Children's High Level Group, a charity that Rowling co-founded to support institutionalized children in Eastern Europe, which has since been renamed Lumos. Rowling's first book aimed at adults, The Casual Vacancy, was published in September 2012. The novel, a dark comedy about a local election in the small English town of Pagford, received mixed reviews. Rowling’s Writing and its Effect upon the World
Rowling really shows her flair as an author through the Harry Potter series. She delicately weaved stories to intertwine with each other across the seven books. She created a thicket of characters, subplots and themes – all in what is supposed to be a children’s fantasy series. She used a simplistic, yet descriptive style, which is perfect for children’s literature. Rowling was careful not to get complicated among her books, she uses simple verbs, like hugged said and walked to draw attention to the story, rather than confuse the readers. She creates emotion and humour, with an understated manner, which proceed to make the scene she has set even more dramatic and funny, but without exaggeration. In her books, Rowling also uses poetry. For Example, in Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone we read of the Gringotts Wizarding Bank poem. “Enter, stranger, but take heed
Of what awaits the sin of greed,
For those who take, but do not earn,
Must pay most dearly in their turn,
So if you seek beneath our floors
A treasure that was never yours,
Thief, you have been warned, beware
Of finding more than treasure there”
Through her use of short, concise and rhythmic poetry, Rowling familiarises children with poetry, and of how fun it can be. She creates her own words throughout the story, to emphasise her magic spells, and the true imagination and wonder of Hogwarts. She also uses these made-up words to show secrets and clues to the characters identities. She often uses words in Latin to create her magic spells, and wizard names. Example, Professor Remus Lupin is a werewolf. According to myth, Romulus and Remus were the founders of Rome and were raised by wolves. His last name, Lupin, is derived from the Latin lupus, for wolf, and the English adjective lupine, meaning wolf-like. Lupin was converted into a werewolf by Fenrir Greyback, whose name is taken from Fenrir, the monstrous wolf son of Loki in Norse mythology. Sirius Black, who turns into a black dog, is named for the star Sirius, which can be found in the constellation Canis Major - the big dog. JK Rowling has been credited with getting children reading again. Devoured as much by adults as by children, her Harry Potter books have had critics praising their linguistic inventiveness, comic timing and page-turning plots. The underlying themes of friendship and loyalty established in the first two books are developed into darker themes of betrayal, despair and bereavement by book number three, Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban. Rowling has changed the literary world with her writing. The children’s market, previously considered marginal, was suddenly taken seriously. “It was the equivalent of The Beatles in children’s publishing,” says children’s author Julie Bertagna. “Children’s fiction was a stagnant backwater which nobody really took very seriously at all. There’s been a revolution which is mostly due to Harry Potter.” The Harry Potter books also paved the way for the so-called crossover” novel, a book which straddled the teenage and adult market. Along with her huge literary successes, J.K has also changed lives in other ways. Through her charity work, Rowling has help thousands of people around the world. She has worked with many charities, including Amnesty International, Lumos, Gingerbread, Multiple Sclerosis Society, Volant and many, many other organisations.
Many people have found Rowling’s work extraordinary. These is shown by some fantastic reviews by magazines, papers, websites etc.. ‘This is a story full of surprise and jokes; comparisons with Dahl are, this time, justified’ – The Sunday Times (for Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone) ‘Rowling uses classic narrative devices with flair and originality and delivers a complex and demanding plot in the form of a huge entertaining thriller. She is a first-rate writer.’ – The Scotsman (for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) ‘A richly textured first novel given lift-off by an inventive wit.’ – The Guardian (for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.) “This crisply-paced fantasy will leave you hungry for the four additional Harry books that J.K. Rowling is working on. Harry's third year is a charm. Don't miss it." – Kidsreads.com (for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban) "The Order of the Phoenix starts slow, gathers speed and then skateboards, with somersaults, to its furious conclusion....As Harry gets older, Rowling gets better."- The New York Times – (For Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) “Fast, dark, exciting and tightly plotted.” – The Daily Mail (for Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince) “Taut, witty, effortlessly engaging, and very, very nasty. How we yearn for more.” – TLS (For Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) “It's hard to imagine a better ending than the one she's written for her saga after 10 years, more than 4,000 pages and close to 400 million copies in print. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows may be a miracle of marketing, but it's also a miraculous book that earns out, emotionally and artistically.... I cried at the end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It's that rare thing, an instant classic that earns its catharsis honestly, not through hype or sentiment but through the author's vision and hard work.” Washington Post (for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) “A vivid read with great, memorable characters and a truly emotional payoff.. Rowling captures humanity in everyone, even if the humanity is not a pretty sight” – Time (for The Casual Vacancy)
J.K. Rowling has received many honours and awards, including: Author of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award, British Book Awards, 1999 and 2008 Booksellers Association Author of the Year, 1998 and 1999
Order of the British Empire (OBE), 2001
WH Smith Fiction Award, 2004
Prince of Asturias Award for Concord, Spain, 2003
Blue Peter Gold Badge, 2007
Commencement speaker, Harvard University, USA, 2008
The Edinburgh Award, 2008
James Joyce Award, University College Dublin, 2008
South Bank Show Award for Outstanding Achievement, 2008
Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur: France, 2009
Hans Christian Andersen Award, Denmark, 2010
Best Fiction prize in Goodreads Choice Awards, 2012
Freedom of the City of London Award, 2012
The Beacon Award for Targeted Philanthropy, 2013
She has also received numerous honourary degrees, from several different universities, including; the Exeter, St Andrews, Edinburgh, Dartmouth, Harvard, and many more.
Did You Know?
She writes all of her books in longhand, rather than with a computer. Her book, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire", was the top-selling book of 2000, with 7 million hard covers sold. When the first "Harry Potter" novel was published, the publisher asked her to use initials rather than her first name, because boys would be biased against a book written by a woman. Since she only had one given name, they then asked her to make up another initial; she took "K." from her favorite grandmother, Kathleen. She is one of only two contemporary authors to have a novel spend more than a year on both the New York Times hardcover and paperback best-seller lists. As of November 2002, , her franchise of books have currently sold over 175,000,000 copies and printed in over 200 languages to become the biggest and fastest selling novels ever. Whilst at University she had little money so, for friends' birthdays, she wrote them personal little stories. After spending six years writing the first installment of her "Harry Potter" novels, Rowling was rejected by 9 publishers before London's Bloomsbury Publishing signed her on. She is the first author billionaire, according to “Forbes” magazine. She ranked 14th in the 2008 Telegraph's list "the 100 most powerful people in British culture". She ranked 9th in the 2008 Forbes “The Celebrity 100” list. In Time magazine (Dec. 31, 2007), she was a runner-up at 3rd as "Person of the Year" after political leaders Vladimir Putin (1st) and Al Gore (2nd). To date (Summer 2011), she is the best-selling author in the history of literature. Conclusion
To conclude, I would like to emphasise the change that J.K Rowling has influenced throughout the literary world. She has inspired so many authors, and influenced many to read. Her books, her lifestyle, her unique, yet simplistic writing style that worked “magic”, her versatility with her writing and her amazing achievements cement her place as one of the twentieth century’s greatest literary figures. This will also follow with some extracts from her books, which I feel really display her magnificent work as an author.