Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has given back to the world in countless ways.
The internet was in awe this week when we learned that Rowling wrote a letter in the voice of Dumbledore to a girl who lost her entire family and quoted the Hogwarts headmaster at their memorial service. The news first appeared via a Facebook group supporting the girl and was then confirmed by reps for the author.
Rowling’s huge success with the Harry Potter series has given her endless chances to do good in the world, and she’s taken every single opportunity in amazing ways.
She lost her billionaire status after various donations to charity. Forbes’ Rich List revealed in 2012 that Rowling had donated so much money to charity (and was hit so hard by British taxes) that she lost her membership card to the billionaire club. The author had reportedly donated $160 million to charities over the previous year.
She donated all royalties from ‘Fantastic Beasts’ and ‘Quidditch Through the Ages’ to Comic Relief. Even before the Harry Potter books blew up in popularity, Rowling released two small Hogwarts school books called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Themand Quidditch Through the Ages. All royalties (which equated to 80% of the cost of the two books) went to Comic Relief, a British charity which supports people living in poverty around the world. Since their publication in 2001, the two books have reportedly raised over $28 million.
- She donated all royalties from ‘Beedle the Bard’ to the Children’s High Level Group (Lumos).
Rowling hand-wrote seven copies of The Tales of Beedle the Bard for six people who were closely involved with bringing the Harry Potter book series to the world. The seventh copy went to auction and sold to Amazon for $3.98 million. The money went to Lumos, a charity which “works to support the eight million children in institutions worldwide to regain their right to a family life and to end the institutionalisation of children.”
Then, Rowling decided to publish Beedle the Bard for the masses in late 2007. As of January 2010 the book has raised $17 million for Lumos.
- She read an unfinished Potter book to a dying child.
Rowling built a relationship with a young girl named Catie (pictured above, bottom right) in Albany, New York who was suffering from a cancer called neuroblastoma. In 1999 and 2000 the author and Catie sent numerous letters back and forth to one another after the girl’s mom had contacted Rowling’s reps to find out when Goblet of Fire was going to be published. She contacted them because she was worried it wouldn’t be released before Catie’s death.
In letters to Catie, Rowling teased what was to come in the fourth Potter book. With time running out before she passed, the author decided to read excerpts of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire over the phone to the ailing girl before the book was released. She was the first person in the world to know what would happen in the book.
After Catie died in May 2000, her family set up a memorial fund in her name. Rowling learned about the fund and donated $100,000 to it. In a letter to Catie’s parents, Rowling said she could “only aspire to being the sort of parents both of you have been to Catie during her illness.” She added, “I am crying so hard as I type. She left footprints on my heart.”
More about Rowling and Catie’s letters to one another can be found over onThe Telegraph.
- She’s spent years supporting multiple sclerosis research.
Rowling’s interest in finding new treatments for multiple sclerosis stems from a personal connection to the illness: Her mother (pictured above, lower right) passed away from MS in 1990.
On a quest to find answers (her mother was a very healthy woman who died at the young age of 45), she donated money to create a clinic in Edinburgh which was later named after her mother, Anne. Rowling attended the groundbreaking opening of the clinic which is pictured above.
In interviews over the years, Rowling has said she regrets never telling her mother, an avid reader, about Harry Potter before she passed. The author was six months into writing the series when her mother died, and at the time Rowling was still remaining “secretive” about the project.
- She’s donating three years of royalties from ‘The Cuckoo’s Calling’ to veterans. After we learned that Rowling was the author of The Cuckoo’s Calling by “Robert Galbraith,” the author’s website revealed that three years of royalties from the first book in her Cormoran Strike series would be going to The Soldiers’ Charity. “Half of our money is given direct to individuals to help in areas such as debt relief, mobility assistance, education bursaries, carehome fees and respite breaks,” the website stated. “The other half is given as grants to other charities.”
Rowling said she was inspired to send money to The Soldiers’ Charity after doing research about veterans for her book. “Writing a hero who is a veteran has given me an even greater appreciation and understanding of exactly how much this charity does for ex-servicemen and their families, and how much that support is needed.”
Three years is a long time: The book was published in April 2013, meaning royalties will continue to go to charity through April 2016.
- She wrote the Harry Potter series. Without Harry Potter, it’s unlikely Rowling would’ve had the level of success she’s had. Therefore, the world would not’ve received all of the help Rowling has been able to selflessly offer.
And without Harry Potter, we never would’ve met many of the people we as readers know and love today. That is a gift in and of itself. (x)
YA Meme- 1/1 Author- J.K. Rowling .
"We do not need magic to transform the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already."
"I would like to be remembered as someone who did the best she could with the talent she had."
July 31, 1965.
Happy Birthday, dear Joanne ‘Kathleen’ Rowling!
"I think I’d most like to spend a day with Harry. I’d take him out for a meal and apologize for everything I’ve put him through." J.K Rowling.
Happy Birthday, Jo! Thank you for existing and creating the amazing world all of us love and will cherish forever! (July 31st, 1965)
I do like other genres of books. If the mood strikes, I’ll read classics or thrillers either in regards to horror or spies or even historical fiction.
But my bookshelves are overrun with the fantasy genre and I don’t regret it at all. I feel so at home in the fantasy genre.
Middle Earth, Tortall, Westeros, the Wizarding World…
There is just so much creativity and thought put into these fantasy stories that I can’t help but devour them. The cultures, the people, the creatures, the many histories… Reading fantasy keeps my imagination going, keeps me thinking, and makes me feel welcome.
While I do love Parade’s End, the Great Gatsby, and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (just to name a few), the fantasy genre always calls me back with open arms.
Because of the feeling fantasy gives me, it’s probably why my first novel/series is fantasy with a world that I created with characters who fight for survival and in search of a place to belong.
The fact that Harry Potter was written on a Word Document format on a computer freaks me out. J.K. writing Harry Potter looks just like me writing a paper for my Shakespeare class an hour before its due…It just seems too simple for something so extraordinary.
I always imagined her sitting in some sort of grandiose chair and her writing with a huge quilled pen or speaking the words aloud and them magically appearing a large, floating piece of paper or something. A process that could equate to the product, I suppose.
J.K. Rowling for People Magazine (1999)
June 26, 1997: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Published.The Harry Potter series is officially 17 years old today.