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Thursday, 23 November, 2000, 13:55 GMT
University honours Potter author
JK Rowling
JK Rowling has received an honorary degree
The woman behind the Harry Potter phenomenon has been awarded an honorary degree by Edinburgh's Napier University.

Author JK Rowling was given the title Doctor of Letters at a ceremony in the city's Festival Theatre.

Thursday's accolade caps a hugely successful year for the 34-year-old writer, who last week was named as Scotland's top earner.

Rowling took top spot in the Scottish section of the Sunday Times Pay List with a take-home salary of 25m - more than top earners like Rangers chairman David Murray and Stagecoach tycoon Brian Souter.

JK Rowling
JK Rowling's first book is being filmed
The magical transformation in Ms Rowling's fortunes is down to the phenomenal success of her children's books, which follow the adventures of apprentice wizard Harry Potter.

The first book in the series - Harry Potter and The Philosophers Stone - is currently being made into a Hollywood blockbuster by Steven Spielberg's Dreamworks studio.

Earlier this year, the fourth instalment in the series - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - shot to the top of the worldwide bestsellers list on its day of release and has already broken all sales records for children's books.

Marked contrast

JK Rowling's books have now been translated into 28 languages and are sold in 30 countries around the world.

This success is in marked contrast to her fortunes before penning tales of the bespectacled children's hero.

In the early 1990s Ms Rowling was a single mother living in Edinburgh struggling to finish her first Potter book.

Napier's assistant principal Patricia Peattie said: "By the time she came to live in Edinburgh in 1993, she had a suitcase full of stories, a young daughter, and no money.

Pheneomenal success

"As a single parent, Jo Rowling lived on benefits, and a timely 8,000 grant from the Scottish Arts Council, writing in a cafe in Edinburgh with her baby daughter asleep beside her."

Her first manuscript was eventually bought by Bloomesbury and published in 1996 to phenomenal success.

But the writer did not forget those hard times and is an advocate of help for single parent families.

Ms Peattie added: "Ms Rowling recently became an ambassador for the National Council for One Parent Families, as well as giving time and money to other causes including multiple sclerosis research and support for cancer care."

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21 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Potter book reprinted over error
18 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Book fair thanks Potter
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