In the mid-1990's, Joanne Kathleen "J.K." Rowling (rhymes with "bowling") was a newly-divorced, single mother living on government welfare. "I was the biggest failure I knew," Rowling said in a commencement speech delivered to Harvard University's class of 2008. "I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything but what I was." After twelve publisher rejections of her first work, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Rowling's career as an author finally launched in 1997 when the book appeared in print for the first time.
In a Guardian interview, Rowling reveals she grew up near the Forest of Dean in a community not unlike Pagford. "And this was very much me vividly remembering what it was like to be a teenager, and it wasn't a particularly happy time in my life. In fact, you couldn't give me anything to make me go back to being a teenager. Never. No, I hated it."
NPR: Poverty Informs J.K. Rowling's New Novel For Adults
The Volant Charitable Trust was set up by J.K. Rowling in 2000 as a grant making trust to support Scottish charities, groups and projects, both national or community-based, which help alleviate social deprivation, particularly concerned with women, children and young people at risk.
Lumos is an international non-governmental, non-profit organisation founded by J.K. Rowling to help the eight million disadvantaged children in orphanages around the world to be returned to their family or placed in a loving family environment. Lumos’ mission is to end the use of orphanages and institutions for vulnerable children around the world by 2050.