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After graduating from university in 1983, JK Rowling was living in London. She worked for the human rights group Amnesty International. But in 1990, she decided to move to Manchester. After spending a weekend looking for an apartment, she took the train back to London. It was then, she says, that "the idea for Harry Potter simply fell into my head."

On that train ride, she did not have a pen that worked, and she was too bashful to borrow one. But as she sat on that tr...

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