Before they were famous
J. K. Rowling, secretary
In this article

J. K. Rowling, secretary

Before J.K. Rowling was famous

After graduating from the University of Essex with a degree in French and Classics, Joanne Rowling studied for a year in Paris before moving to London to work as a researcher and bilingual secretary at Amnesty International. She then took on a secretarial role at a publishing firm where she sent out rejection letters to prospective authors.

But writing was what Joanne really wanted to do. She began writing at the age of 6 with a story called Rabbit, and her love of making up stories never went away. While working as a secretary, Joanne would often scribble down ideas for stories when she was supposed to be taking minutes of meetings!

Her career change

In 1990, whilst stuck on a delayed train from Manchester to London, the idea of writing a story about a young boy attending a school of wizadry came to her... and so the character of Harry Potter was born.

But it took 7 years before the idea became a book. Divorced and a single mother, she fought depression and poverty but it was during this difficult period that she completed Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

The manuscript was reportedly rejected by three publishers before she was signed up and went on to become the highest-earning woman in Britain. Following the success of the eight Harry Potter books and films, she has amassed an estimated fortune of £530 million.

© Paul Grover / Rex Featu/REX/SIPA

Women in Focus Editor
Rank this page: 

Article Plan Before they were famous
Don't miss...
Have You Tried These Yet? The Biggest Hairstyle Trends For 2015Miley Cyrus hair
Long Layered Hairstyles For WomenAll Cheryl Cole Hairstyles
Latest… 29/11/2015
Women in Focus News
Here’s Just 3 Examples Of Why The International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women Is So Important
Why Is Office Bullying Getting Worse And How Can We Stop It?
What This Husband Wrote About His Wife's Work As A Trauma Nurse Is A Must Read
5 Reasons We Need To Sign The #Equality4MentalHealth Petition
All Women in Focus news
Changing your name | How to change your name
Work for yourself - get your small business online
How to deal with redundancy
Registering and voting: everything you need to know
See all Women in Focus guides
Teaching kids about money
See all Women in Focus videos

Don't miss out!

...Join our newsletter
Get the sofeminine latest straight to your inbox
Find us on...