Magic Mother: J. K. Rowling

Joanne Kathleen Rowling entered the world in Chipping Sudbury General Hospital in England, a fitting beginning for someone who would later enjoy making up strange names for people, places and games played on flying broomsticks. Her younger sister was born just under two years later.


Rowling remembers that she always wanted to write and that the first story she actually wrote down, when she was five or six, was a story about a rabbit called Rabbit. Many of her favorite memories center around reading — hearing stories read aloud by her father when she had the measles, enjoying the fantastic adventure stories, reveling in the magical world and her favorite story of all, The Little White Horse.

罗琳记得她从小就喜欢写作,5、6岁时就已经写了 一篇跟兔子有关的故事。小时候美好的记忆似乎总是围绕阅读的——得麻疹时听爸爸大声讲故事,读那些奇异的冒险故事,沉浸在奇妙的故事世界里。她最喜欢的故事是《小白马》。

At University Rowling took her degree in French and spent one year studying in Paris. After college she moved to London to work for Amnesty International as a researcher and bilingual secretary. The best thing about working in an office, she has said, was typing up stories on the computer when no one was watching.


During this time, on a particularly long train ride from Manchester to London in the summer of 1990, the idea came to her of a boy who is a wizard. He attends a school for wizardry — she could see him very plainly in her mind. By the time the train pulled into King’s Cross Station four hours later, many of the characters and the early stages of the plot were fully formed in her head. The story took further shape as she continued working on it in pubs and cafes over her lunch hours.


In 1992 Rowling left off working in offices and moved to Portugal to teach English as a Second Language. In spite of her students making jokes about her name (this time they called her "Rolling Stone"),she enjoyed teaching. She worked afternoons and evenings, leaving mornings free for writing. After her marriage to a Portuguese TV journalist ended in divorce, Rowling returned to Britain with her infant daughter and a suitcase full of Harry Potter notes and chapters.


She settled in Edinburgh to be near her sister and set out to finish the book before looking for a teaching job.Wheeling her daughter's carriage around the city to escape their tiny, cold apartment, she would duck into coffee shops to write when the baby fell asleep. In this way she finished the book and started sending it to publishers. It was rejected several times before she found an London agent, chosen because she liked his name — Christopher Little, who sold the manuscript to Bloomsbury Children's Books.

为了能住得离妹妹近些,罗琳在爱丁堡定居下来,准备在找到新工作前完成这部小说。她常常用手推车推着女儿四处闲逛,只是为了逃离又小又冷的公寓。她常常会躲到咖啡馆里,趁女儿睡着时写作。就这样, 罗琳在咖啡馆里完成了哈利•波特的创作,开始寻找出版商。但她的稿件被几次退回,直到她找到了一个伦敦的经纪人。罗琳之所以会找到他,仅仅是因为喜欢他可爱的名字一克里斯多夫•里特,他把手稿卖给了布鲁姆斯伯里儿童书籍出版商。

Rowling was working as a French teacher when she heard that her book about the boy wizard had been accepted for publication. Harry Potter and the Philosopher s Stone was published in June 1997 and achieved almost instant success. With the publication of the American edition, retitled Harry Potter and the Sorcerer,s Stone, in 1998, Rowling’s books continued to make publishing history.

当罗琳得知这本关于小巫师的小说被出版商接受时,她正在一所学校教法语。1997年6月,《哈利•波 特与哲学家的石头》一出版,就大获成功。1998年,随着美国版本的出现,这本书被重新命名为《哈利•波特与 魔法石》,罗琳的书继续创造着出版界的历史。

Harry Potter climbed to the top of all the bestseller lists for children’s and adult books. Indeed, the story of the boy wizard, his Cinder lad childhood, and his adventures at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry caught the imagination of readers of all ages. In Britain a separate edition of the first book appeared with a more “adult” dust jacket so that grown-ups reading it on trains and subways would not have to hide their copy behind a newspaper.

《哈利•波特》登上了儿童与成人书籍最佳销售榜的首位。确实,这个小巫师的故事,他灰姑娘一样的童年,和他在霍格华兹魔法学校的历险引发了各个年龄段读者丰富的想象力。在英国,出版商出版了一种更成人化封面的版本, 使得大人们在火车或者地铁里阅读此书时而不用把书藏在报纸后面。

What is the secret of Rowling's success? Many people think that the stories sell well because they are full of exciting action and they appeal to readers of all ages. But in an interview, Rowling said, "The books are really about the power of the imagination. Deep down, everyone wants to be like Harry. Readers can identify with his courage to face danger and overcome problems." And it was not Harry Potter who rescued Rowling, but exactly herself.

罗琳成功的秘诀是什么?许多人认为《哈利•波特》 的畅销归功于引人入胜的情节,而且老少皆宜。但在一次采访中,罗琳说:“这些故事讲的是想象的力量。其实在每个人心底,大家都想成为哈利。他直面危险、克服困难的勇气,令读者产生了共鸣。”可以说成就罗琳的不是《哈利•波特》,而是罗琳自己。