Skip to page content

Our Founder and Life President

J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling
Photography Debra Hurford Brown © J.K. Rowling 2018

Compelled by an article in the Sunday Times newspaper back in 2004 about children being kept in caged beds in an institution, writer J.K. Rowling had the original idea for a charity which would seek to end the institutionalisation of children. And so Lumos, named after the light-giving spell in Harry Potter, was founded to shine a light on some of the world’s most disadvantaged children.

After eight years as chair of the Board of Trustees, J.K. Rowling became Founder and Life President of Lumos in 2014.

J.K. Rowling is the author of the enduringly popular, era-defining Harry Potter book series, as well as several stand-alone novels for adults and children and a bestselling crime fiction series written under the pen name Robert Galbraith. The seven Harry Potter books were made into eight smash hit movies and have now sold over 600 million copies worldwide and been translated into 85 languages.

To accompany the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling wrote three short companion volumes in aid of charity: Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (in aid of Comic Relief and Lumos), and The Tales of Beedle the Bard (in aid of Lumos).

Her 2008 Harvard commencement speech was published in 2015 as an illustrated book, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination and sold in aid of Lumos and university-wide financial aid at Harvard.

In 2020 J.K. Rowling published a fairy tale for younger children, The Ickabog, which was initially serialised for free online during the Covid-19 pandemic, and then published as a book illustrated by children, with her author royalties donated to her charitable trust, Volant, to benefit charities helping to alleviate social deprivation and assist vulnerable groups, particularly women and children.

J.K. Rowling is also a campaigner and philanthropist, supporting a wide range of humanitarian causes through her charitable trust, Volant, including charities working with women and children, and the Anne Rowling Regenerative Neurology Clinic, a world-leading research and treatment centre for Multiple Sclerosis in Scotland founded in the name of her mother, who died from the disease. In 2022, J.K. Rowling funded and co-founded Beira’s Place, a new sexual violence support service for women in Edinburgh.

As well as receiving an OBE and Companion of Honour for services to children’s literature and philanthropy, J.K. Rowling has received many other awards and honours, including France’s Légion d’Honneur, Spain’s Prince of Asturias Award and Denmark’s Hans Christian Andersen Award.