J.K. Rowling Joanne Rowling was born in South Gloucestershire, England on 31 July 1965, on the outskirts of Bristol. There is some confusion as to exactly where; Rowling has said she was born in Chipping Sodbury, whereas her birth certificate apparently claims she was born in the Cottage Hospital at Yate . Her sister Di was born when Rowling was almost two . The family moved to Winterbourne, Bristol when Rowling was four, and then to Tutshill, near Chepstow, Wales at the age of nine. She attended secondary school at Wyedean School and College. In December 1990, Rowling's mother succumbed to a decade-long battle with multiple sclerosis.
After studying French and Classics at the University of Exeter, with a year of study in Paris, she moved to London to work as a researcher and bilingual secretary for Amnesty International. During this period she had the idea for a story of a young boy attending a school of wizardry while she was on a four-hour, delayed train trip between Manchester and London. When she had reached her destination, she began writing immediately .
Rowling then moved to Portugal to teach English as a foreign language. While there, she married Portuguese television journalist Jorge Arantes on 16 October 1992. They had one child, Jessica Isabel, before divorcing in 1993. Their daughter was named after Rowling's heroine, Jessica Mitford.
In December, 1994, she and her daughter moved to be near her sister in Edinburgh. Unemployed and living on state benefits, she completed her first novel, doing some of the work in local Edinburgh cafes whenever she could get Jessica to fall asleep. There was a rumour that she wrote in local caf├ęs in order to escape from her unheated flat, but in a 2001 BBC interview Rowling remarked, "I am not stupid enough to rent an unheated flat, in Edinburgh, in mid-winter; it had heating".