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The Ickabog: J.K. Rowling is releasing a new children’s fairytale book online for free starting today

J.K. Rowling on the red carpet
J.K. Rowling will be releasing a print version of The Ickabog in November with the profits going to a COVID-19 charity. Pic credit: ©Imagecollect.com/ Landmark-Media

A decade ago, J.K. Rowling wrote a fairytale called The Ickabog, and she’s finally decided to make it public. She’s also putting it all online for free.

The creator of Harry Potter announced on Tuesday (May 26) that The Ickabog, which is aimed at children who are stuck at home while in lockdown, will be available from today.

She will be serializing the book in chapters on her Ickabog website, with one or two chapters appearing every week for the next seven weeks.

This is her first children’s book since Harry Potter, but she stressed, “It isn’t Harry Potter, and it doesn’t include magic. This is an entirely different story.”

However, the idea for The Ickabog did first come to her while she was writing Harry Potter.

Rowling wrote The Ickabog 10 years ago

“I wrote most of a first draft in fits and starts between Potter books, intending to publish it after Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” she explained.

However, after deciding to take a break from publishing after the final Harry Potter book, which lasted five years, the fairytale ended up in “the attic.” When she finally returned, it was with The Casual Vacancy and (as her alter ego Robert Galbraith) with The Cuckoo’s Calling.

Rowling said, “Even though I loved the story, over the years, I came to think of it as something that was just for my own children.” However, after a recent chat with her now teenage kids, she has decided to make the story public.

The Ickabog explores timeless themes

She also hinted at the storyline by writing, “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.”

She added, “The themes are timeless and could apply to any era or any country.”

Rowling is also running a competition alongside the serialization where kids can send in their illustrations with the best ones appearing in the print edition of the new book.

The British author has been known to flirt with political controversy occasionally and has voiced her opinion on several political issues.

Yesterday she offered a year’s salary to a rogue UK civil servant who slammed UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government in a tweet. She made the offer on Twitter after the British government said they were investigating the matter.

She has also been a vocal critic of the Scottish independence campaign. In 2014, she donated £1 million to the Better Together campaign, which aimed to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom.

Rowling also caused some controversy when she tweeted her support for Maya Forstater, a researcher who lost her job after making comments about biological sex.


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