Multi-millionaire Harry Potter author JK Rowling has given a £1 million donation to Labour, the party announced today.
The donation comes as a major boost to the cash-strapped party and its leader Gordon Brown as the annual Labour conference starts in Manchester.
Rowling, whose fortune was estimated at £560 million in this year's Sunday Times Rich List, is known to be a personal friend of Mr Brown and his wife Sarah.
Labour Party general secretary Ray Collins said: "I would like to thank JK Rowling for making this generous donation and for helping us in our work to make Britain a fairer and stronger country.
"We are grateful to everyone that contributes to the party and greatly appreciate this support."
Labour is struggling with debts totalling £17.8 million - much of them due to borrowing to fund the 2005 general election campaign, the most expensive in the party's history.
But a source indicated that Ms Rowling's money would not simply be swallowed up in debt repayments, but would allow the party to continue with its work.
In a statement, JK Rowling, who wrote the first of her best-selling books about boy wizard Harry Potter while an impoverished single mother, indicated that her gift was motivated by Labour's record on child poverty and Tory leader David Cameron's offer of tax breaks to married couples.
She said: "I believe that poor and vulnerable families will fare much better under the Labour Party than they would under a Cameron-led Conservative Party.
"Gordon Brown has consistently prioritised and introduced measures that will save as many children as possible from a life lacking in opportunity or choice.
"The Labour government has reversed the long-term trend in child poverty, and is one of the leading EU countries in combating child poverty.
"David Cameron's promise of tax perks for the married, on the other hand, is reminiscent of the Conservative government I experienced as a lone parent. It sends the message that the Conservatives still believe a childless, dual-income, but married couple is more deserving of a financial pat on the head than those struggling, as I once was, to keep their families afloat in difficult times."
It is the first time that the children's author has donated cash to the Labour Party.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown said: "I am delighted that JK Rowling, who is one of the world's greatest ever authors, has made such a generous donation.
"I thank her for supporting the Labour Party and our values of social justice and opportunity for all."