It's the birthday of J(oanne) K(athleen) Rowling, born in Chipping Sodbury, England (1966). But her readers know today as Harry Potter's birthday. On Harry Potter's 11th birthday, he learns that he is a wizard. He is officially invited to leave his Muggle aunt and uncle and attend the special Hogwarts school for wizards. As a child, Rowling was short and stocky and wore very thick glasses, just like Harry Potter. She says she was very bossy, very bookish and terrible at school until she got older. When Rowling started writing Harry Potter, she was unemployed and divorced and living on public assistance in a tiny Edinburgh apartment with her infant daughter. She wrote during her daughter's naps, at a table in a café. She couldn't afford even a used typewriter. Then the Scottish Arts Council gave her a grant to finish the book. She did, and in the U.S. it was called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (1998). It was a dramatic overnight success. She was instantly famous and Harry Potter became a household name. She experienced a type of fame usually reserved for politicians and rock stars. On book tours, she spoke at big sporting venues, with images of her face projected on big screens behind her. She gave press conferences. At age 35 she was the highest-earning woman in Britain, netting more than $30 million in 2000. Rowling has had a series of seven Harry Potter books in her head since 1995 and she plans to write them all. She has the plots all mapped out already. There is a book for each year that Harry spends at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She said, "I want to finish these seven books and look back and think that whatever happened-however much this hurricane whirled around me-I stayed true to what I wanted to write. This is my Holy Grail: that when I finish writing book seven, I can say-hand on heart-I didn't change a thing. I wrote the story I meant to write." Rowling released Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on June 21 this year. Within an hour, Barnes and Noble, the largest bookseller in the country, had sold 286,000 copies. That's 80 books per second. By the end of the day the book had sold five million copies total.