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Sunday, 20 August, 2000, 14:01 GMT 15:01 UK
JK Rowling tops earnings list
JK Rowling
Four years ago JK Rowling was a poverty-stricken single mother
Best-selling children's author JK Rowling has become Britain's highest-earning woman.

The 35-year-old writer, who began her literary career just four years ago, netted more than 20.5m over the last year, according to the Mail on Sunday's annual list of top female earners.

Britain's top five female earners
JK Rowling, author - 20.5m
Nikki Beckett, computers - 14.03m
Winifred Linnett, property - 9.76m
Angela Dawes, computers - 8.3m
Jane Cavanagh, computer games - 5.62m
The Harry Potter series, about a schoolboy wizard, started life when Rowling was day-dreaming on a train journey to London.

Her fourth book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, was launched in July and shot into the record books by selling more than a third of a million copies on its first day.

JK Rowling is among 64 women on the newspaper's top 100 list who earned more than 1m in the past year.

The second-highest earner was Nikki Beckett, who made 14.03m by selling shares in her computer business, NSB Retail Systems.

Laura Davies
Laura Davies is the highest earning sportswoman
Eight out of the top 10 earners on the list are businesswomen but those in showbusiness also featured strongly.

Singer Sarah Brightman came in at number 10 with 4m, while ex-Spice Girl Geri Halliwell earned 3.7m, placing her at number 12.

Golfer Laura Davies was the only sportswoman to make the list, earning 1.3m.

And the youngest person on the list is 14-year-old Welsh classical singer Charlotte Church, whose 3.5m income last year puts her in 14th place.

Despite a collective income of 212m, Britain's top 100 female earners still have a long way to go before they rival their American counterparts.

Last year talk show host Oprah Winfrey alone took home 90m.

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See also:

06 Jul 00 | Entertainment
A Muggle's guide to Harry Potter
10 Jul 00 | UK
Queen drops down rich list
05 Jul 98 | Entertainment
Nice beats Spice in money stakes
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