Today's Birthday, July 31: British author J.K. Rowling (1965 - )
J.K. Rowling's image may have taken a hit because of her controversial views on transgender women, but readers still can't get enough of the Harry Potter series.
The famous author expressed "deep concerns" over transgender law reform in June, prompting Harry Potter film stars Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson to speak out against her comments.
Despite backlash, Harry Potter book sales have thrived during the COVID-19 pandemic.
UK publisher Bloomsbury recently recorded a 28 per cent rise in sales, attributed in part to Rowling's titles remaining "bestsellers".
Born in Gloucestershire, England in 1965, Joanne Kathleen Rowling showed an interest in writing at a young age.
She studied French and Classics at the University of Exeter before moving to Portugal in 1990 to teach English where she met and married a local journalist.
The marriage ended in divorce, with Rowling settling in Edinburgh with their daughter and starting work on a book.
Her first manuscript, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, was rejected several times before it was sold to Bloomsbury.
The fantasy novel, following an orphan's discovery of the magical world and his mythical place in it, only received a limited initial print run but set the foundation for one of the most popular series of all time.
When Rowling released the series' seventh and final instalment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, in 2007, it became the fastest-selling novel in history as 11 million copies flew off US and UK shelves in the first day.
Harry Potter's mainstream popularity was boosted by eight blockbuster films from 2001 to 2011, with Rowling helping to write most of the scripts.
Her 2001 guide book to the Potterverse's magical creatures, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, has since been spun off into another film series exploring the First Wizarding War.
Rowling's debut adult novel, The Casual Vacancy, was published in 2012 and adapted for television in 2015.
Using the pseudonym Robert Galbraith, she has also published four crime books. The fifth novel of the Cormoran Strike series is due for release in September.
Rowling is married to Scottish doctor Neil Murray, with whom she has had two children.