Rowling’s parents made their living in the sciences – her dad, Peter, was an engineer, and her mom, Anne, was a technician. But Rowling turned to words early. She’s been writing since the age of six, when she wrote her first novel. It was about a rabbit.
After Rowling graduated from the University of Exeter in 1986, she moved to London and worked as a secretary for Amnesty International. However, she spent her time daydreaming about a teenage wizard, writing stories on her work computer and reading books, instead of working. She was subsequently fired.
Seven years after graduation, Rowling was a jobless single mother, living on welfare benefits. Rowling later described this period as “liberating,” as she was able to focus on her writing and develop the story of a teenage wizard who would become one of the most famous characters in fiction.