J.K. Rowling has returned to us in our time of need, now with her first-ever non-Harry Potter children’s book, The Ickabog.
To be released in installments over the course of the next seven weeks, The Ickabog is an old tale of Rowling’s.
Once crafted for and read to her children when they were younger, she set The Ickabog aside for a long time while working on adult novels. After retrieving the story from her attic and re-reading it to her family, including her now-teenaged children, she reworked it for a new audience.
With parents and children struggling to find ways to entertain themselves during a summer under quarantine, Rowling has offered her story to the public at no cost.
Though unrelated to the world of Harry Potter, this story is sure to bring entertainment and comfort to children looking for new fantastical tales to live within.
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Rowling has previously referred to The Ickabog as a "political fairytale," though she states that the story does not include any magic. She that The Ickabog is “a story about truth and the abuse of power,” but that the themes and ideas of the book are not a response to any single or recent event.
Aw, you remembered... for those who don't know, I said in one interview that I wrote an unpublished book all over a dress for a fancy dress party. (I went as a lost manuscript.) The book was The Ickabog. https://t.co/kn8ID1Pbfr— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) May 26, 2020
With its online publication comes an illustration contest. Rowling has asked young readers to help illustrate the book, and her publishers will consider the artwork submitted for print in a physical copy due out later this year.
Though Rowling will not judge the competition herself, she will offer suggestions for artwork and guidance along the way.
Rowling will donate all of the royalties she receives from The Ickabog to “help people who have been affected by the coronavirus.” You can read the first five chapters of the story at the link below, and subsequent chapters will be released regularly online.
Featured image via J.K. Rowling on Twitter.