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Harry Potter's magic has touched a huge audience of all ages all over the world. In America, there are over 103 million books in print, and each title has been #1 on The New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. The sixth title, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, set a new world record for a first printing, with 10.8 million copies hitting stores on July 16, 2005.
J. K. Rowling has won the Hugo Award, the Bram Stoker Award, the Whitbread Award for Best Children's Book, a special commendation for the Anne Spencer Lindbergh Prize, and a special certificate for being a three-year winner of the Smarties Prize, as well as many other honors. She has been a featured guest on 60 Minutes, The Today Show, and Larry King Live. Rowling has also been named an Officer of the British Empire.
Rowling first thought of Harry while riding a train back in 1990. "Harry just strolled into my head fully formed." She worked on the book for several years, finding quiet moments while her daughter napped. Several publishers turned down the finished manuscript before one took interest.
In 1998, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was published in the United States, kicking off Harry-mania. Suddenly, kids were reading again, and their parents wanted to read the same books! The second and third books were published in the spring and fall of 1999.
On July 8, 2000, the release of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire became a major celebration, with bookstore events occurring at midnight nationwide. The book sold an unprecedented three million copies in the first 48 hours of release, winning the title of "fastest-selling book in history" a title later claimed by Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix when it was released on June 21, 2003.
Warner Bros. enjoys certain rights in respect to all the Harry Potter books and has exercised its option to create films on all of those that have been published to date. With over a quarter of a billion books sold, the books have been translated into 63 languages and distributed in over 200 countries. All five books have appeared on bestseller lists in the United States, Britain, and around the globe.
Joanne Rowling was born in Chipping Sodbury near Bristol, England. After she graduated from Exeter University, she found work as a secretary, and later spent time teaching English in Portugal before moving to Edinburgh, Scotland, with her daughter. She currently resides in Scotland with her husband and three children.