Rowling had thought of the new book’s storyline while she was writing Harry Potter and had plans to release it right after publishing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Harry Potter author JK Rowling is publishing a new book called The Ickabog online for free. She is releasing it chapter by chapter to keep children and their families entertained at a time when they are stuck at home due to the novel coronavirus.
Taking to Twitter, the author announced on May 26 that The Ickabog was penned about a decade ago, but was lying forgotten in her attic. She had written the fairytale involving kings and child-eating monsters to read to her children as a bedtime story.
Rowling had thought of the new book’s storyline while she was writing Harry Potter and had plans to release it right after publishing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – the last book of the Potter series that won her international acclaim.
Over time I came to think of The Ickabog as just for my family. The manuscript went up into the attic, where it remained until a few weeks ago.
This is the very dusty box I got down from the attic.
(It's a Net-A-Porter box and might well have held a premiere dress.)May 26, 2020
Finding her children — who are teenagers now — to be “touchingly enthusiastic” about the story, she went ahead and retrieved the story and published it for free.
Rowling wrote on Twitter: “I’ve decided to publish The Ickabog for free online, so children on lockdown, or even those back at school during these strange, unsettling times, can read it or have it read to them.”
She added, the book is based on the timeless themes of truth and abuse of power, which “could apply to any era or any country”.
To make the activity more engaging for children, Rowling has also asked “budding artists” between the ages of 7 and 12 to help her illustrate The Ickabog. Not only will the best submissions be published in the print version of the book that will come out in November 2020, but Scholastic, which is running the competition, will donate $650 “worth of books to the school or library of the winner’s choice”.Besides, the author will give signed copies of the book to 34 winners, while the author royalties will be donated projects and organisations that are helping the groups most affected by COVID-19.