Much to our surprise, J.K. Rowling has had an unpublished story in her attic for almost a decade. Like many of us the world’s highest-earning author has been home a lot more than usual over the past couple months and even has a direct connection to the current health crisis. Rowling has brushed off the dust on a children’s story called The Ickabog, and she’s publishing it this year.
In a Tuesday announcement, J.K. Rowling revealed that a few chapters of The Ickabog will be released every weekday until mid-July. Her new story will be unravelled online for free ahead of The Ickabog hitting bookshelves in November. The first two chapters, titled “King Fred the Fearless” and “The Ickabog” (each about a page long), have already dropped on the official Ickabog website.
The best-selling author said she started drafting the story in between writing her Harry Potter book series and had planned to publish it after Deathly Hallows. Instead, J.K. Rowling decided to take five years off from book publishing and ended up turning to the 2012 adult fiction novel The Casual Vacancy. As Rowling noted in her official statement, The Ickabog has remained alive through story time with her kids.
Amidst self-isolation with her family, J.K. Rowling has decided to finally publish The Ickabog, especially in an effort to entertain the millions of children stuck in their homes due to global health concerns. Rowling is also launching an illustration competition to young readers as the chapters unfold. Winners will have their artwork published in the print edition of The Ickabog coming later this year.
The Harry Potter author said the book is appropriate for kids aged 7 to 9 to read themselves, and explained the contents of The Ickabog with these words:
The Ickabog is a story about truth and the abuse of power. To forestall one obvious question: the idea came to me well over a decade ago, so it isn’t intended to be read as a response to anything that’s happening in the world right now. The themes are timeless and could apply to any era or any country.
The Ickabog does not take place in the Wizarding World or look to have any relation to Harry Potter. The words released so far introduce the ruler of a place called Cornucopia, a five-year old boy named Bert Beamish and the myth of a children and sheep-eating monster called The Ickabog.
In the past few months, J.K. Rowling has also granted open license to her Harry Potter books to teachers across the world, released a star-studded audiobook version to her short story collection The Tales of Beedle the Bard, and launched the website Harry Potter At Home. Fantastic Beasts 3 is set to hit theaters on November 12, 2021.