Although-she-writes-under-the-pen-name-J.K.-Rowling,-pronounced-like-rolling,-her-name-when-her-first-Harry-Potter-book-was-published-was-simply-Joanne-Rowling.-Anticipating-that-the-target-audience-of-young-boys-might-not-want-to-read-a-book-written-by-a-woman,-her-publishers-demanded-that-she-use-two-initials,-rather-than-her-full-name.-As-she-had-no-middle-name,-she-chose-K-as-the-second-initial-of-her-pen-name,-from-her-paternal-grandmother-Kathleen-Ada-Bulgen-Rowling.-She-calls-herself-Jo-and-has-said,-“No-one-ever-called-me-‘Joanne’-when-I-was-young,-unless-they-were-angry.”-Following-her-marriage,-she-has-sometimes-used-the-name-Joanne-Murray-when-conducting-personal-business.-During-the-Leveson-Inquiry-she-gave-evidence-under-the-name-of-Joanne-Kathleen-Rowling.-In-a-2012-interview,-Rowling-noted-that-she-no-longer-cared-that-people-pronounced-her-name-incorrectly.

Rowling-was-born-to-Peter-James-Rowling,-a-Rolls-Royce-aircraft-engineer,-and-Anne-Rowling-(née-Volant),-on-31-July-1965-in-Yate,-Gloucestershire,-England,-10-miles-(16-km)-northeast-of-Bristol.-Her-mother-Anne-was-half-French-and-half-Scottish.-Her-parents-first-met-on-a-train-departing-from-King’s-Cross-Station-bound-for-Arbroath-in-1964.-They-married-on-14-March-1965.-Her-mother’s-maternal-grandfather,-Dugald-Campbell,-was-born-in-Lamlash-on-the-Isle-of-Arran.-Her-mother’s-paternal-grandfather,-Louis-Volant,-was-awarded-the-Croix-de-Guerre-for-exceptional-bravery-in-defending-the-village-of-Courcelles-le-Comte-during-the-First-World-War.

Rowling’s-sister-Dianne-was-born-at-their-home-when-Rowling-was-23-months-old.-The-family-moved-to-the-nearby-village-Winterbourne-when-Rowling-was-four.-She-attended-St-Michael’s-Primary-School,-a-school-founded-by-abolitionist-William-Wilberforce-and-education-reformer-Hannah-More.-Her-headmaster-at-St-Michael’s,-Alfred-Dunn,-has-been-suggested-as-the-inspiration-for-the-Harry-Potter-headmaster-Albus-Dumbledore.

As-a-child,-Rowling-often-wrote-fantasy-stories,-which-she-would-usually-then-read-to-her-sister.-She-recalls-that:-“I-can-still-remember-me-telling-her-a-story-in-which-she-fell-down-a-rabbit-hole-and-was-fed-strawberries-by-the-rabbit-family-inside-it.-Certainly-the-first-story-I-ever-wrote-down-(when-I-was-five-or-six)-was-about-a-rabbit-called-Rabbit.-He-got-the-measles-and-was-visited-by-his-friends,-including-a-giant-bee-called-Miss-Bee.”-At-the-age-of-nine,-Rowling-moved-to-Church-Cottage-in-the-Gloucestershire-village-of-Tutshill,-close-to-Chepstow,-Wales.-When-she-was-a-young-teenager,-her-great-aunt,-who-Rowling-said-“taught-classics-and-approved-of-a-thirst-for-knowledge,-even-of-a-questionable-kind,”-gave-her-a-very-old-copy-of-Jessica-Mitford’s-autobiography,-Hons-and-Rebels.-Mitford-became-Rowling’s-heroine,-and-Rowling-subsequently-read-all-of-her-books.

Rowling-has-said-of-her-teenage-years,-in-an-interview-with-The-New-Yorker,-“I-wasn’t-particularly-happy.-I-think-it’s-a-dreadful-time-of-life.”-She-had-a-difficult-homelife;-her-mother-was-ill-and-she-had-a-difficult-relationship-with-her-father-(she-is-no-longer-on-speaking-terms-with-him).-She-attended-secondary-school-at-Wyedean-School-and-College,-where-her-mother-had-worked-as-a-technician-in-the-science-department.-Rowling-said-of-her-adolescence,-“Hermione-[a-bookish,-know-it-all-Harry-Potter-character]-is-loosely-based-on-me.-She’s-a-caricature-of-me-when-I-was-eleven,-which-I’m-not-particularly-proud-of.”-Steve-Eddy,-who-taught-Rowling-English-when-she-first-arrived,-remembers-her-as-“not-exceptional”-but-“one-of-a-group-of-girls-who-were-bright,-and-quite-good-at-English.”-Sean-Harris,-her-best-friend-in-the-Upper-Sixth-owned-a-turquoise-Ford-Anglia,-which-she-says-inspired-the-one-in-her-books.-