J. K. Rowlingby Connie Ann Kirk
The unprecedented popularity of the Harry Potter books took the publishing world by storm and captured the imaginations of readers around the world. This unofficial biographical study of J. K. Rowling invites fans and critics alike to take a close look at the person behind the phenomenon, the facts of her life as a writer, and the extraordinary success of an… See more details below
The unprecedented popularity of the Harry Potter books took the publishing world by storm and captured the imaginations of readers around the world. This unofficial biographical study of J. K. Rowling invites fans and critics alike to take a close look at the person behind the phenomenon, the facts of her life as a writer, and the extraordinary success of an ordinary woman. This detailed book explores both the critical acclaim and the controversies surrounding Rowling's books and the characters, who seem to have found a life of their own. Chapters take the reader from Rowling's early childhood in England through her school years, friendships, and early influences, tracing her family life, her travels and personal relationships, and the development of her career as a writer.
The Harry Potter books are carefully considered against the backdrop of the fantasy genre and are also situated within the broader framework of popular culture. A bibliography provides reviews, critical articles, biographical sources, and related Web site information. A timeline highlights the events of Rowling's life and career. Other appendices cite the many awards her books have received around the world. Also included are lists of her special literary and humanitarian interests.
Meet the Author
CONNIE ANN KIRK is an author and independent scholar specializing in American and children's literature and the poet, Emily Dickinson. Her books from Greenwood Press include: J.K. Rowling: A Biography, Emily Dickinson: A Biography, Mark Twain: A Biography, Sylvia Plath: A Biography, and The Companion to American Children's Picture Books.
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The book J.K. Rowling by Connie Ann Kirk brings a lot of information about Rowling’s life and her career as a successful writer. We have read a lot of information about Rowling in newspapers or magazines but this book gives a new perspective on the author of the Harry Potter phenomenon. Connie Kirk brings an insight look at Rowling’s background that journalist have not captured. This book tells us about Rowling as a young child and the experience that had helped to create a magic world and characters that we know from the Harry Potter series. Kirk also describes Rowling as a woman who believed in writing about Harry Potter and who did not let anything to stop her even when the odds were stacked against her. In my opinion, Kirk did an incredible job in searching and using the information about J.K. Rowling. The book is well written and easy to read. It gives us new information throughout the entire book but never too much at the same time. Connie Kirk also included her own opinion and perspective, which helps us to understand some parts of it and also makes it easier to read. This is also the first biography about J.K. Rowling to avoid the sentimentality of the “poor, single mother” image, which makes the book different compared to others of the same kind. I believe that it is very hard to write a biography about people who are still alive because things always change and new important highlights originate. I would say that the weakest part of the book is its age because the book was published in 2003, at the time when there were only first three Harry Potter books and Rowling’s bright career just started. While reading the biography I did not notice any other weaknesses and I enjoyed the reading a lot. I am a big fan of the Harry Potter series so getting to know the author of this incredible work was more than entertaining to me. I think that J.K. Rowling is an amazing author but also a woman who just did not give up and believed in what she was doing. Hard work and talent have brought Rowling successful career that is, in my opinion, well deserved. I would highly recommend this book to all the fans of Harry Potter because I believe that this book would give them a new perspective not only about J.K. Rowling but also about the series itself. I would also recommend this book to people who are interested in reading biographies because Connie Kirk did a great job and showed that even though it is hard to write a biography it can be done well. The fact that Kirk is a writer of books, not a journalist, adds to the book’s fresh approach and deeper insights.
This book brings together in one place a lot of the information about Rowling's life that you've read in bits and pieces online or in newspapers and magazines, or have heard about in television or radio interviews. As a fellow writer herself, Kirk brings an important insight to her look at Rowling's background that journalists have not captured. She describes her not only as a girl growing up in England in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s but also as a woman who believed in writing Harry Potter's story even when the odds were stacked against her by a world culture that does not value the middle class attempting to work in the arts. This is the first biography to avoid the sentimentality of the 'poor, single mother' image and consider Rowling as a temporarily unemployed, college-educated woman who kept her head, worked as a teacher, and took care of her daughter while at the same time remaining dedicated to her writing and particularly to Harry Potter's story. If Harry feels like a beloved character to the millions who read his story, that is because the author 'met' him, nurtured him, and believed in him first and infused him with love and courage. This book considers the places and times where and when the author grew up and lived (such as the Forest of Dean in the West Country of England and the 1960s and 70s) and how that context and what was also going on in the world at that time may have directly influenced Rowling's sensibilities, humanitarianism, and work. This strategy in the book continues as important moments in Rowling's life are described parallel to world events until, remarkably, they intersect around September 11th, 2001, when the first Harry Potter film is released that fall to a public much in need of a bit of fantasy. Family, teachers, and friends and their influence on the writer are also considered throughout. Harry's story is told from the first time Rowling met him on the delayed train through the 2nd film and the fifth novel. Controversies Rowling has faced in terms of literary criticism, lawsuits, and book burnings are also addressed fully and fairly. The appendices are many and add much--they include a timeline of Rowling's life and achievements, awards each novel has won, a listing of J. K. Rowling's reading, charitable organizations that are important to her, and addresses for the author both in the U.S. and U.K.. The bibliography is extensive, including all of Rowling's works (British and American publications; articles, too), biographical sources, reading and education guides, responses from young people, criticism and reviews, related articles, and websites. There is a helpful index as well. The biography is easy to read and informative and attempts to place Rowling's work in context with world events, literature, and popular culture. The book would have benefited from more careful editing, but the fresh contexts and updated information provided in the biography will cause most readers to overlook this. I highly recommend the book to Harry Potter fans, readers, students, educators, and those interested in writers' biographies. Kirk donates from the proceeds of the book to J. K. Rowling's preferred charity, Comic Relief, which suggests that she shares in Rowling's humanitarian interests. Perhaps the fact that she is a writer of books rather than a journalist adds to the book's fresh approach and deeper, more valuable insights.