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J.K. Rowling

About J.K. Rowling

The genesis of Harry Potter goes back to 1990 when J.K. Rowling was caught on a delayed train somewhere between Manchester and Kings Cross Station in London. Seven years and many submissions to publishers later, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone finally saw print, swiftly becoming a word-of-mouth hit. Within twelve months under the Bloomsbury imprint, it became a publishing phenomena, spawning an entire universe of magic.

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Harry Potter - The Series in Order

The greatest adventure in children’s literature starts here. Discover the boy who lived, the infant saviour of Voldemort’s dark reign, the wizard of the future: the one and only Harry Potter.


The Eighth Book

Nineteen years on. The eighth story. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One and Two is the eighth official story in the Harry Potter series, picking up the tale immediately after the epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.


Harry Potter Illustrated

Utterly stunning in their execution, illustrator Jim Kay brings Harry’s world to vibrant life in one of publishing’s most ambitious undertakings.

Flourish & Blotts - Harry Potter illustrated by Jim Kay
The Potions Master - Harry Potter illustrated by Jim Kay
Albus Dumbledore - Harry Potter illustrated by Jim Kay

Forever Spellbound: The Universe of Harry Potter

The conclusion of the series doesn’t mean the end of the magic. Get ready for the adventure to begin again with a certain ex-student of Hogwarts and a suitcase that holds an incredible secret: get ready for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.


Always by Your Side: Harry Potter Adult Editions

Growing up certainly doesn’t mean growing out of Harry Potter; whether its rekindling your love or entirely new to the wizarding world.


From Page to Screen

Magic isn’t just confined to wands – discover the incredible secrets behind one of the world’s most successful film series


Spelling Aloud: Harry Potter on Audio

The original Harry Potter series is brought to life by the voice of master storyteller Stephen Fry in these complete and unabridged audio editions. Don’t miss a moment of the magic.


The Colour of Magic

Are House-elves always green? Just what colour is a snot-flavoured Bertie Bott bean? Now you can decide, armed with our phenomenally popular range of Harry Potter Colouring Books


Drop in to Diagon Alley: Games and Collectables

Visit Waterstones' answer to Diagon Alley where you can find everything a self-respecting wizard needs to create their own magical collection. Have you always wanted to visit Olivander’s and choose your very own wand? Do you want to join Harry and his friends in tracking down your own Horcruxes? Then now is your chance, with games, puzzles and much more, there’s a treasure trove of magic to explore.

J.K. Rowling: The full story

‘The best letter of my life, I read it eight times.’ – J.K. Rowling on being accepted by Christopher Little Literary Agents

Famously rejected by no less than eight publishers before ultimately being picked up by Bloomsbury, the genesis of what was to become Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is almost as well-documented as the books themselves.

Born in Gloucestershire in 1965, J.K. Rowling studied French and Classics at The University of Exeter and later moved to Portugal, returning to the UK in 1993. Although the basic threads of the Harry Potter universe surfaced in 1990, it took Rowling another six years to complete the first novel, famously writing the book in cafés around Edinburgh. A chance submission to London literary agent Christopher Little set the ball in motion toward its eventual publication on June 26, 1997.

Although by now of course a global phenomenon, those early days were fuelled by sheer word-of-mouth enthusiasm, with readers and booksellers alike utterly enraptured by this new, enchanting world. Although we generally fight shy of claiming credit in anyone’s success, Waterstones Edinburgh was amongst the first of bookshops to really grasp Harry Potter’s potential and to this day its booksellers have vivid memories of hosting those initial spearhead events.

Rowling went on to write another six full-length Harry Potter books and two accompanying volumes to support the charity Comic Relief - Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through the Ages. Following the conclusion of the series in 2007 with Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, fears that those magical doors had closed for good proved groundless, with Rowling penning the exquisite The Tales of Beedle the Bard, initially available only as seven impossibly-rare copies. Ultimately that too saw print proper with proceeds going to charity.

Now, in 2016, we have yet more Potter to come, with Rowling breaking new ground with the release of her first new Harry Potter story for nearly a decade, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, adapted as a play by Jack Thorne for The Palace Theatre with books released in Waterstones shops around the country on the last stroke of midnight on 30th July 2016. This will be closely followed by the release of Rowling’s original screenplay for the upcoming film adaptation of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them on 19th November 2016.

Writing for J.K. Rowling is not, however, confined to the worlds of wizardry and magic, finding considerable critical and commercial success in her 2012 novel The Casual Vacancy, an entirely earthly tale of social injustice. Few however were aware that a crime debut published early in the following year and written by a certain ‘Robert Galbraith’ was Rowling herself, intrigued by the notion of writing as a completely different persona. By 2014 the secret was out and The Cuckoo’s Calling – the first book in a series of mysteries featuring private investigator Cormoran Strike – was then to be followed by The Sikworm and Career of Evil, the latter appearing in 2015.

Effortlessly shifting from the fantasies of Harry Potter through to the pages of adult fiction, crime and now onward to stage and screen, the impossibility to predict the mercurial mind of J.K. Rowling makes what might come all the more exciting. ‘I feel like I’ve got happier and happier,’ she told The Guardian in 2015. ‘I feel like I’m hitting my stride.’