One night, as a young J. K. (Joanne Kathleen) Rowling traveled from Manchester to London by train, an idea for a book about a boy wizard named Harry Potter formed in her mind. It would change the course of her life forever. As a young girl growing up in Chepstow, Gwent, a historic town near the Lower Wye Valley in Southern England, Rowling loved to tell stories, and started to write them down when she was 6-years-old. Throughout her schooling, she entertained her friends during lunchtime with fantastic made-up stories. After studying French at the University of Exeter, Rowling went on to work in London, until at age 26, she moved to Portugal to teach English as a second language. There, she married, became pregnant, and worked on her Harry Potter manuscript whenever she had a spare second. The death of her own mother made his orphaned state much more real to her. Rowling's marriage ended in divorce, and she moved to Edinburgh with her newborn daughter, Jessica. ||After five years of writing, and a year's worth of publisher rejections, HARRY POTTER AND THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE was bought by Bloomsbury (U.K.) and published in June 1997. Shortly after Bloomsbury bought the manuscript, the rights were sold in America, where it was published in September 1998 as HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE. Her book not only received lavish praise, winning the British Book Awards Children's Book of the Year and the Smarties Prize, but earned Rowling enough money to quit teaching and write full time. Her six subsequent Harry Potter books, all spectacular bestsellers, have continued to receive British and American awards, and are all being made into films. Having reached her lifelong dream of becoming a professional writer, Rowling encourages children who want to write to read as much as they can.
From the Publisher
When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils?. Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the town's council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations? Blackly comic, thought-provoking and constantly surprising, The Casual Vacancy is J.K. Rowling's first novel for adults.