Harry Birthday, Harry Potter!
Author J.K. Rowling in 2007 with the final book in her “Harry Potter” series, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”; SHAUN CURRY/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Happy birthday, Harry Potter!
June 26 marks the 20th anniversary of the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the first book in then-unknown author J.K. Rowling’s soon-to-be wildly popular Harry Potter book series.
Scottish-born Joanne Rowling was a single mother in 1990 when she began working on Philosopher’s Stone, her very first novel. It was published in the U.K. in 1997, with an initial print run of just 500 copies. It was her publisher who suggested Rowling adopt the pen name of J.K. Rowling, fearing young boys might not buy a book written by a female author.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone was an unqualified smash, and sold some 300,000 copies by 1999. The U.S. edition was published September 1, 1998, with the modified title Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. A year later, it was the #1 New York Times fiction bestseller, where it remained for nearly a year.
There have been seven Harry Potter novels in all, the last — Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — published worldwide July 2, 2007. All of the novels were made into hit movies and inspired a handful of spin-off projects, including the recent play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, and the website Pottermore.
In 2001, Rowling also wrote Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, based on a book mentioned in the Harry Potter series. A new film franchise based on the book’s fictional author, Newt Scamander, is in production, the first of which debuted in 2016.
Harry Potter has also made Rowling a very rich woman. The 2017 Sunday Times Rich List put her personal worth at 650 million pounds, about $827.5 million U.S.
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