Harry Potter author JK Rowling is to publish a new children’s book, a fairy tale “about truth and the abuse of power” that she has kept in her attic for years, for free online for children in lockdown, The Guardian reports.
"The Ickabog", which is set in an imaginary land unrelated to any of Rowling’s other works, will be serialised online from Tuesday afternoon, in 34 daily, free instalments. It will then be published as a book, ebook and audiobook in November, with Rowling’s royalties to go to projects assisting groups impacted by the pandemic.
Rowling described "The Ickabog" as “a story about truth and the abuse of power”. It came to her “well over a decade ago”, so she stressed that 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,” stressed Rowling, who has been critical in recent days of the UK government’s response to the Dominic Cummings crisis. On Monday, she wrote of Cummings’ reasoning for his contentious trip to Durham: “Your wife was ill, you thought you were infectious and you’ve got a kid. Those circumstances are not exceptional. They’re commonplace.”
Rowling has alluded to the story in the past, describing it in 2009 as a “political fairytale ... for slightly younger children” that she was then working on.