"JK (JOANNE KATHLEEN) ROWLING (1966-)," Guardian Unlimited, undated. Note: the probable date for this is late summer of 2000.

"In Book 4, the hormones are going to kick in. I don't want him [Harry] stuck in a state of permanent pre-pubescence like poor Julian in the Famous Five."

Chepstow, Wales

Comprehensive in the Forest of Dean, Exeter University

Other jobs
Bilingual secretary, English teacher in Portugal, French teacher

Did you know?
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the first book in the series, was turned down by Penguin and HarperCollins before eventually getting snapped up by Bloomsbury; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire broke all publishing records by selling 372,775 copies on its first day.

Critical verdict
JK Rowling has been credited with getting children reading again. Devoured as much by adults as by children (and available in adult editions with muted cover illustrations and higher price tags), her Harry Potter books have had critics praising their linguistic inventiveness (she loves making up magic words), comic timing and page-turning plots. The underlying themes of friendship and loyalty established in the first two books are developed into darker themes of betrayal, despair and bereavement by book number three, Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban. "The only way to show how evil it is to take a life is to kill someone the reader cares about," as Rowling said of the latest book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, which also sees Harry become interested in girls. Rowling intends to write seven books in all, one for each year of Harry's life at his wizard school.

Recommended works
The backlash was already beginning by the time of The Goblet of Fire, despite it matching Harry's development by being a much more complex beast than the early titles. The books need to be read as a sequence, though, so start at the beginning with the Philosopher's Stone.

CS Lewis ("simply a genius"), TH White

Now read on
Rowling has described Wart from TH White's The Sword In The Stone as "Harry's spiritual ancestor"; see also Susan Cooper's classic fantasy sequence The Dark is Rising. Both Philip Pullman with his Dark Materials trilogy and Diana Wynne Jones with Charmed Life have benefited from the resurgence of interest in magical children's fiction with adult crossover appeal.

Warner Brothers have bought the film rights for the first book for a "seven-figure sum"; Steven Spielberg was to direct but Rowling refused to allow him to use an American child actor.

Also available at: http://books.guardian.co.uk/authors/author/0,5917,412962,00.html