The first Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was published in 1997 to immediate popular and critical acclaim. Six further best-selling books and eight blockbuster films followed. The books have been translated into over 80 languages, won multiple awards, and sold more than 500 million copies worldwide, becoming the best-selling book series in history.

Joanne Rowling was a bookworm as a child and wanted to be a writer from an early age. She wrote her first book at the age of six, a story about a rabbit called ‘Rabbit’. At just eleven, she wrote her first novel, about seven cursed diamonds and the people who owned them.

The idea of Harry Potter was conceived in 1990 whilst Rowling was sitting on a delayed train from Manchester to London King’s Cross. Over the next five years, she began to map out all seven books of the series. She wrote mostly in longhand and gradually built up a mass of notes, many of which were scribbled on odd scraps of paper. By 1993, Rowling moved to Edinburgh, with a suitcase containing the first three chapters of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.

Writing in every spare moment and having completed the full manuscript, Rowling sent the first three chapters to a number of literary agents, one of whom wrote back asking to see the rest of it. She says it was “the best letter I had ever received in my life.”

The book was first published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books in June 1997, under the name J.K. Rowling. And Merlin's beard, are we glad they did. Muggles, witches, and wizards alike will love all of the books which are sure to leave a gaping hole when they've been consumed.

If you are looking for your next read to fill the gap that Harry and his pals have left, take a look at the recommendations below to sate that hunger.

If you have Harry Potter fans who love the magical theme but are younger in age range, keep an eye out for 'The Worst Witch, What To Read Next?' which will include books on a magic theme for more middle grade readers who want their next magical adventure.