Once upon a time, in 1990, a young woman called Joanne Rowling was going by train from Manchester to London. The train was delayed, the journey was long, she was daydreaming, and suddenly she had the idea of a book about a boy wizard. By the time the train arrived at King's Cross Station four hours later, many of the characters and the beginning of the plot had already been invented. Ten years later her wild fantasies of wizards and witchcraft became the biggest publishing sensation of modern times.
The idea of writing a book was not quite sudden. Joanne Kathleen Rowling, born on July 31, 1965 in Bristol, England, has always wanted to become a writer. She wrote her first book at the age of six — a story about a rabbit called Rabbit. At school she liked to tell stories to her friends — serial stories, in which they all performed heroic deeds.
Joanne's favourite subjects at school were English and Foreign Languages. She says she was a swot and a bookworm (just like Hermione, one of Harry Potter's best friends). After leaving school Joanne went to Exeter University to study French.
After graduating from the University she worked as a secretary for some time and then moved to Portugal to teach English as a second language. Joanne says she liked it. She worked afternoons and evenings, leaving the mornings free for writing. In Portugal Joanne met and married a TV journalist. The marriage didn't last long, and Rowling returned to Britain with her 4-month-old daughter and a suitcase full of Harry Potter notes.
She settled in Edinburgh, and though times were hard, she set out to finish the book. Every day she put her daughter in the pushchair and walked her around Edinburgh, and when the baby fell asleep, she would hurry to a cafe to write. In this way the first book was written.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone was published in June 1997 and became an immediate success. In July 1998, the second Potter book — Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets — shot to number one in the bestsellers list. In July 1999 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban came out. It wos sold like hot cakes. The fourth book — Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire — broke all publishing records. It wos sold more than 370,000 on its first day in the UK. Today the books have been translated into 31 languages (including Russian).
Nothing like this has happened in children's literature for quite a long time. Children all over the world left their Pokemons and computer games and started reading. And not only children. Grown-ups read Harry Potter books too. In Britain a special edition of the book appeared with a more "adult" cover. It is rumoured that Joanne Rowling is writing her books with a magic wand.
Now Hary Potter has finally arrived on the big screen. Usually, films like this can never live up to the big expectations of eager fans, but — miracle of miracles — people who have already seen it, say that these films are a rare exception.