J.K. Rowling has announced that she will be releasing her new book, The Ickabog, on Tuesday, May 26, per BBC. The Ickabog marks the author's return to the world of fantasy and is the author's first children's book since she finished the Harry Potter series. While speculation is unavoidable as to whether her latest title might have a connection to the book series that made her a household name, Rowling made it clear in the Twitter thread announcing the release that The Ickabog is not a Harry Potter spinoff. On her website, Rowling detailed how the new book came about.
"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.' However, after the last Potter book I wanted to take a break from publishing, which ended up lasting five years."
During her time away from publishing, Rowling would write The Casual Vacancy and The Cuckoo's Calling -- a novel she would eventually publish under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith. After what Rowling described as some "dithering," Rowling made the decision to continue her break from publishing children's books. This left TheIckabog's first draft sitting in her attic for about a decade.
"Over time I came to think of it as a story that belonged to my two younger children, because I'd read it to them in the evenings when they were little, which has always been a happy family memory."That all changed only a few weeks ago, when the celebrated author decided to pull The Ickabog out of the attic and release it for children currently coping with social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rowling will be making the story available for free through the book's website. The Ickabog is expected to be released in print, eBook, and audio formats in November 2020, with Rowling donating all of the royalties to COVID-19 relief efforts.
Rowling revealed very little about the book's plot, describing it only as a "story about truth and the abuse of power." Rowling added that the idea of The Ickabog was more than a decade old, and should not be interpreted as a "response to anything that's happening in the world right now."
Rowling's plan is to release a chapter from The Ickabog every weekday between May 26 and July 10. While she described it as a "read-aloud" book, Rowling said it was suitable for readers aged 7 and up.