Best known for writing the Harry Potter fantasy series, J.K Rowling recently announced that she will serialize her upcoming “stand-alone fairy tale” and her first children’s story since Harry Potter, The Ickabog — online, for free. Rowling took this decision keeping in mind the current situation people are stuck in. The series form will be available for children to read during the pandemic for free while the original book is due to release in November 2020.
New chapters will go live on the Ickabog website at 3 p.m. GMT daily between now and July, starting with the first two on Tuesday. A full print and e-book version will be available for purchase in November, with royalties going to help those who have been affected by COVID-19. Rowling has been known for her efforts and contribution to social causes and charity.
The Ickabog will be published with artwork, for which Rowling prompted children and parents at home to see what they can come up with. Each online chapter will provide illustration prompts while officially entries for the final edition will be judged by the publisher. Rowling encouraged those participating to share their work with the hashtag #theickabog online so she can at least see and engage with it. Rowling has taken an amazing step to engage parents and children worldwide.
“As I worked to finish the book, I started reading chapters nightly to the family again. This was one of the most extraordinary experiences of my writing life, as The Ickabog’s first two readers told me what they remember from when they were tiny, and demanded the reinstatement of bits they’d particularly liked (I obeyed),” said Rowling on her website. “I think The Ickabog lends itself well to serialization because it was written as a read-aloud book (unconsciously shaped, I think, by the way, I read it to my own children), but it’s suitable for seven to nine-year-olds to read to themselves,” she added.
Rowling talked about The Ickabog back in 2009 calling it ‘a political fairy tale…for slightly younger children.’ After 11 years of work and delay, the book has finally made its way to its audiences. Rowling has received immense support and love from children online who have been sending enormous entries as illustrations. Rowling makes sure to retweet and comment on them personally. And that’s the spirit we need in 2020!
The first two chapters of the series are available to read now on the official website.