Joanne Rowling was born on 31st July 1965 at Yate General Hospital just outside Bristol, and grew up in Gloucestershire in England and in Chepstow, Gwent, in south-east Wales. Her father, Peter, was an aircraft engineer at the Rolls Royce factory in Bristol and her mother, Anne, was a science technician in the Chemistry department at Wyedean Comprehensive, where Jo herself went to school.
The young Jo grew up surrounded by books. "I lived for books" she has said. "I was your basic common-or-garden bookworm, complete with freckles and National Health spectacles".
Jo left home at eighteen for Exeter University, where she read so widely outside her French and Classics syllabus that she clocked up a fine of £50 for overdue books at the University library. Her knowledge of Classics would one day come in handy for creating the spells in the Harry Potter series, some of which are based on Latin.