Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has announced that she is publishing online a fairy tale that she wrote for her children. The story, called “The Ickabog”, will be published for free in parts on its own website.
Ms. Rowling announced “The Ickabog” on her own website on Tuesday. She says that the story is not a new one, but one that she wrote years ago in between writing the Harry Potter novels. But, she warns, “It isn’t Harry Potter and it doesn’t include magic. This is an entirely different story.”
Her original plan was to publish “The Ickabog” after “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, but changed her mind and decided to take a break from publishing. The original draft (version) of the book sat in Ms. Rowling’s attic for almost ten years.
The author says that several weeks ago, she came up with the idea of publishing the novel for free on the internet to entertain children who are stuck at home because of lockdowns. She discussed the idea with her children, who are now teenagers, and they thought it was a good idea.
“The Ickabog” is a fairy tale set in a kingdom known as “Cornucopia”. The author describes “The Ickabog” as “a story about truth and the abuse of power.” She says the story wasn’t written about anything going on now, but could be about any time or any country.
Ms. Rowling says she has always thought of the story as one that belonged to her children, since she read it to them when they were younger. In recent weeks, she says she’s worked to bring the book to a final version.
She also re-read the book to her children, and they reminded her of important parts of the story that she’d forgotten to include. Though “The Ickabog” was written as a read-aloud book, the author says the 34-chapter book is a good fit for children aged 7-9 to read on their own.
Because the book was first written as a read-aloud, Ms. Rowling thinks it’s well-suited to being published in parts on the internet. The author plans to publish between one and three chapters a day every weekday, with the end of the book coming out on July 10.
The first two chapters of the book – ‘King Fred the Fearless’ and ‘The Ickabog’ – were published on the website, TheIckabog.com, on Tuesday.
The book will be officially published in November as a regular book, as well as an eBook and and audiobook. The money from the sales of those books will go to support groups that have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
In addition to putting “The Ickabog” on the internet, Ms. Rowling is also holding an illustration (drawing) contest. She’s encouraging kids everywhere to draw pictures for each chapter. When the book is published in the fall, the best pictures will be included.
Since the book will be published in many languages around the world, there will be different versions of the book with different illustrations.
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Ms. Rowling says the book will be published online in English first, but she is also hoping to post translations of the story in other languages later.