Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling announces new story The Ickabog which will be published online from this week

Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling has announced plans to release a new children's book - and for free - and is looking for children to illustrate it.

The popular children's author has unveiled The Ickabog, which she wrote between Harry Potter installments but has since remained unpublished.

J.K. Rowling
J.K. Rowling

In an announcement on her website, and through Twitter, she said the first draft had been put into the attic and over time had become a story for just her family but that in the last couple of weeks she had thought more about getting The Ickabog down and turning it into a story for all children.

She explained: "A few weeks ago at dinner, I tentatively mooted the idea of getting The Ickabog down from the attic and publishing it for free, for children in lockdown. My now teenagers were touchingly enthusiastic, so downstairs came the very dusty box, and for the last few weeks I’ve been immersed in a fictional world I thought I’d never enter again.

"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)."

J.K. Rowling says she intends to publish a chapter on weekdays between May 26 until July 10 on a new website dedicated to The Ickabog which has been launched.

The story is described as one 'about truth and the abuse of power' and is 'not a Harry Potter spin off'.

Children are being encouraged to have a go at illustrating The Ickabog
Children are being encouraged to have a go at illustrating The Ickabog

What's more she is hoping young children will take on the job of illustrating the story in readiness for when the book is published in print, eBook and audiobook forms from November 2020.

The story, she says, is suitable for children roughly aged between seven and nine to read to themselves.

All royalties from The Ickabog when it is published, J.K. Rowling says, will go to groups who’ve been particularly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and further details about this will be made available later in the year.

For more details about the announcement please click here. To visit the new The Ickabog website see here.

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