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J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling
Age: 46 Worth: $1.0 billion 840 million** Country: England Background: J.K. Rowling was a single mother living on Social Security when she wrote her first children's novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Fearing it would never sell, her publisher told her to get a day job.  But in a rags-to-riches tale, the book became a huge success, and the series, which has sold over 400 million copies to date, has become the best-selling in history. In her 2008 Harvard Commencement address, Rowling stated:
I was set free, because my greatest fear had been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter, and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.
**UPDATE: According to a new report by Forbes, J.K. Rowling did not make this year's list of billionaires due to the author's charitable donations and taxes.  Should've kept that gold in Gringotts, J.K.! But for all the billions of hearts she's won, we'll keep her an honorary member. [Photo via]

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