JK Rowling is named the world’s richest author

She's returned to the top spot after almost a decade

JK Rowling has been named the richest author in the world, claiming the top spot from James Patterson.

The Harry Potter author has been estimated to have earned $95 million in the year ending May 31 2017. The figure is equivalent to $180 per minute – due in no small part to the release of her play manuscript for Harry Potter and the Cursed Childwhich sold more than  680,000 print copies in the UK in the first three days on sale last summer, making it the fastest selling book since the final Harry Potter novel.

JK Rowling’s earnings will also have been boosted by the release of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, a feature-length film set in the Harry Potter universe, while new illustrated versions of the Harry Potter novels have recently been release, also adding to Rowling’s earnings.


Forbes, who calculated the information, use a combination of print, ebook and audio sales data, television and film earnings and expert industry opinion in order to produce the list. Previous number one James Patterson is knocked down to the second spot this year, with earnings of $87 million.

The full 2017 Forbes list of the world’s highest-paid authors is as follows:

1 JK Rowling (UK) – $95m
2 James Patterson (US) $87m
3 Jeff Kinney (US) $21m
4 Dan Brown (US) $20m
5 Stephen King (US) $15m
6= John Grisham (US) $14m
6= Nora Roberts (US) $14m
8 Paula Hawkins (UK) $13m
9 EL James (UK) $11.5m
10= Danielle Steel (US) $11m
10= Rick Riordan (US) $11m

J.K. Rowling recently revealed that there are two Harry Potters in her fictional wizarding world.

The popular series of novels celebrated its twentieth anniversary on June 26, which marks 20 years since the publication of the series’ first book The Philosopher’s Stone.


Writing in a post on the Potter fan site Pottermore, Rowling disclosed that there are in fact two prominent Harry Potters in her self-created world.

Discussing the titular protagonist’s family tree, Rowling wrote: “The Potter family is a very old one, but it was never (until the birth of Harry James Potter) at the very forefront of wizarding history, contenting itself with a solid and comfortable existence in the backwaters.”

Rowling revealed that Potter’s great-grandfather Henry Potter – known as Harry to his friends – worked in the Wizengamot law courts from 1913 to 1921.

“Henry caused a minor stir when he publicly condemned then Minister for Magic, Archer Evermonde, who had forbidden the magical community to help Muggles waging the First World War,” Rowling wrote. “His outspokenness on the behalf of the Muggle community was also a strong contributing factor in the family’s exclusion from the ‘Sacred Twenty-Eight’.”

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