J.K. Rowling was born in England and raised in the border country between England and Wales. After university, where she studied French and Classics, she had a number of different jobs including teaching and as a researcher for Amnesty International, working on human rights abuse in Francophone Africa. Her first book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, was published in 1997, and six subsequent Harry Potter novels followed, all of which have achieved record sales. The seven books have been made into eight films, the last of which was released in July 2011. J.K. Rowling has received several honours and awards, including the OBE in 2001, and a Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur, as well as several honorary degrees. She has supported a number of charitable causes over the years, including One Parent Families (now Gingerbread), Maggie's Centres for Cancer Care Centres, Medecins Sans Frontieres and Comic Relief. For nine years she was Patron of Multiple Sclerosis Society Scotland and continues to fund MS research through the Anne Rowling Clinic at Edinburgh University.
In 2004, after seeing an article in the Sunday Times about children being kept in caged beds in institutions, J.K. Rowling felt compelled to address this terrible problem. As a result she founded the charity that became Lumos. She said, "I looked at that photograph of the boy in his cage bed and felt he has absolutely no voice. This touched me as nothing else has because I can think of nobody more powerless than a child, perhaps with a mental or a physical disability, locked away from their family. It was a very shocking realisation to me and that's where the whole thing started".
In 2007, J.K. Rowling auctioned a copy of one of the seven special editions of The Tales of Beedle the Bard which raised £1.95 million for Lumos. In December 2008 the book was widely published in aid of the charity and became the fastest-selling book of that year.