JK Rowling to publish fairy tale free for locked-down children

LONDON (AFP) – The creator of the Harry Potter books JK Rowling said on Tuesday she would release a free online serialisation of a bed-time story she wrote for her children 10 years ago.

The superstar British writer said she decided to pull The Ickabog story down from the attic and publish it for children forced to stay at home during the coronavirus 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,” she said in a statement.

Rowling said she would post the first two chapters on a dedicated website – www.theickabog.com – on Tuesday, with 34 further instalments released each weekday until July 10.

She then intends to publish the story in English in November and other languages later on. All royalties will be given to projects assisting groups particularly affected by the pandemic.

Written to be read aloud, The Ickabog is a story “in the fairy tale tradition” set in an imaginary land and aimed primarily at children aged between seven and nine. It is unrelated to any of Rowling’s other previous works, though she noted it was penned “in fits and starts” between her Harry Potter books.