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Joanne Kathleen Rowling was born on July 31st, 1965 in Chipping Sodbury, Gloucestershire, England. J. K. has a sister two years younger than her, Dianne, who is called Di.  The family moved twice while she was growing up. The first move was across Bristol to Winterbourne.  Two of the children she played with while there, had the surname Potter.   When she was nine the family moved again, this time to Tutshill just outside Chepstow, in Wales.. Her parents were both Londoners and had a dream of living in the country. She enjoyed wandering the fields and along the river Wye with her sister. 

She went to school at Wyedean.  While there, she met Sean Harris, to whom Chamber of Secrets is dedicated.  He was the first person that she ever discussed her goals to be a writer. 

When she was fifteen, her mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Most people with multiple sclerosis experience periods of remission, but her mother was not so lucky, after she was diagnosed she seemed to become slowly but steadily worse.  It was a terrible shock for her to hear that her mother had an incurable illness.

In 1983 she started attending the University of Exeter, on the south coast of England. At her parentís insistence, she studied French.  Which she later felt was a mistake.  She felt she should have stuck to her guns and studied English.  One perk of studying French was that she got to live in Paris for a year.  When she left the university she worked several jobs including working for Amnesty International.  In 1990, she decided to move from London to Manchester.  While she was looking for an apartment in Manchester, she had to travel by herself on a crowded train.   While she was traveling back and forth from London to Manchester on the train, she got the idea for Harry Potter. 

On December 30th 1990, her mother finally succumbed to MS and died.  Her father, her sister Di and herself were devastated.  Her mother was only forty - five years old.  Even though they knew she would eventually die from her disease, they had never really imagined it happening.   This changed both J. K. Rowlingís world and the world she was creating for Harry Potter. 

After her motherís death, J. K. felt she needed to get away.  She took a job in Portugal teaching English.  While in Portugal she hoped to finish her book.  She did work on the book while there, but she did not get it finished.  She did, however, met a Portuguese television journalist Jorge Arantes, and they got married.  They had a daughter Jessica, but divorced shortly afterwards. 

In December, 1994, she and her daughter moved to be near her sister in Edinburgh.  She thought about teaching, but she really wanted to get her book finished.  She knew that the demands of a teaching position and raising her daughter would not give her time to finish her book.  So she would take her daughter out to a local cafť and she would work on her book.  She was unemployed and living on state benefits when she finished the first book, the Philosopher's Stone, which was later called the Sorcererís Stone.  She sent the first three chapters to an agent, but they immediately sent them back.  She was determined and sent the first three chapters to another agent.  This time they sent a letter back saying they wanted to see the rest of her book.  It took them over a year to find a publisher for this book, but the rest is history. 

In December 2001, she married Dr. Neil Murray, an anesthetist, in a private ceremony at her home in Aberfeldy.  Her and her husband had a son David Gordon Rowling Murray shortly after she started writing Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.   J. K. Rowling took a short break from working on that novel to care for her newborn child.  In January 2005, she and her husband welcomed Mackenzie Jean Rowling Murray.