Finishing with Harry Potter was more painful than divorce, the author of the boy wizard blockbuster tales JK Rowling said today. The billionaire author, who wrote her seventh and last Potter tome last year was tearful as she accepted an award for outstanding achievement in London.
"It has been the worst break-up of my life - far worse than splitting up with any man," the 42-year-old told an audience at the Dorchester Hotel for the South Bank Show awards. <b1>
"But it has also been wonderful to stop and draw breath and think, 'My God, look what's happened with an idea I had 17 years ago on a train'." The Harry Potter books have sold around 350 million copies worldwide and are translated into 65 different languages.
The last, Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, came out last July. The British author, who began writing her first Potter book in 1990, met and married a local journalist after moving to Portugal in 1991, and had her first child, Jessica.
But the marriage fell apart, and Rowling moved to Edinburgh in 1994. She completed the manuscript as a single mother, often writing in cafes around the Scottish capital when her daughter fell asleep in her pushchair. Rowling revealed last November that she was working on a "half-finished book for children" which will probably be her next publication.