J.K. Rowling has unearthed an old manuscript she wrote ten years ago and will be sharing the story for free with bored kids stuck at home.
Best of all the Harry Potter author is asking children to send in illustrations and some of them could even end up in the published version of new stories!
The first two chapters of The Ickabog are available for free here:https://t.co/afFEfRQQ5C— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) May 26, 2020
Rowling announced the news in a series of tweets in which she told fans, “THIS IS NOT A HARRY POTTER SPIN-OFF.”
I have a small announcement, but before I get started, I— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) May 26, 2020
want to head off one possible source of confusion.
THIS IS NOT A HARRY POTTER SPIN-OFF
With that important detail out of the way, Rowling went on to reveal, “Over 10 years ago, I wrote a stand-alone fairy tale called The Ickabog. I always meant to publish it, but after the last Potter was released I wrote two novels for adults and, after some dithering, decided to put those out next. Until very recently, the only people who’d heard the story of The Ickabog were my two younger children.”
After deciding she thought the story was “just for family” Rowling put The Ickabog up in the attic – until rediscovering it recently.
“Opening the box was like opening a time capsule. Most of the story was handwritten, but bits had been typed up. When I put it into some kind of order (I’m not renowned for my filing skills) I had a patchwork first draft,” Rowling explained. “Over the last few weeks I’ve done a bit of rewriting and 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.”
Opening the box was like opening a time capsule. Most of the story was handwritten, but bits had been typed up. When I put it into some kind of order (I'm not renowned for my filing skills) I had a patchwork first draft.— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) May 26, 2020
The author told fans The Ickabog is a story about “truth and the abuse of power” but was quick to tell fans “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.”
Rowling shared she plans to post a chapter, or multiple chapters each weekday from May 26 through July 10 on theickabog.com and is looking for younger readers to share illustrations. The author already started sharing some of the illustrations she has already received on Twitter.
“I’d like children to illustrate the book for me! I’ll be suggesting ideas for pictures as we go, but nobody should feel constrained by my ideas. Let your imaginations run wild!” Rowling revealed. “The best pictures in each publishing territory will be included in the books we intend to publish in November 2020. As individual publishers will know best which illustrations work in their editions, I won’t be personally judging this competition.”
Calling all budding artists aged 7-12! You're invited to illustrate the story of #TheIckabog and enter the competition for the chance to have your artwork featured in the printed version of the book.— The Ickabog (@TheIckabog) May 26, 2020
Find out more about the competition here: https://t.co/U2GzztMQem pic.twitter.com/33rIn4yNPT
Rowling finished her series of Ickabog tweets by telling fans she intends to “donate my author royalties from the published books to projects and organizations helping the groups most impacted by COVID-19.”