- J.K. Rowling will donate all author royalties when new children book is published to help groups affected by the novel coronavirus.
From a dusty box in an attic and almost a decade’s past, J.K. Rowling announced today via her blog on publishing the story of The Ickabog for free for children who are in lockdown. Not only is Rowling hoping to entertain and immerse children in a fictional world of a timeless theme that tells about truth and the misuse of power, but lives with the intention to help people that have been adversely affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic by donating her author royalties from publishing the book.
“I’ll be posting a chapter (or two, or three) every weekday between 26th May and 10th July on The Ickabog website. We plan to publish some translations soon and will post further details on that website when they’re available,” Rowling says.
The Ickabog was first drafted by Rowling in between Harry Potter books, with the intention of publishing the children’s book 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. In that time, I wrote The Casual Vacancy and Robert Galbraith wrote The Cuckoo’s Calling,” she states.
Rowling reminisced on the memory of spending her evenings reading the story with her then younger children and tentatively proposed the idea of publishing the same story that she felt only belong to her children.
“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).”
The heartwarming enthusiasm shown from her children supports Rowling’s kind intent of releasing the words of The Ickabog and allowing other children to become engrossed in the story they once heard many nights when little. The Ickabog is meant to be a read-aloud children’s story, suitable for 7 to 9-year old children to read by themselves. The story itself is written in a way that offers the effect of a possible series.
Rowling continued her announcement by launching an illustration competition. “Having decided to publish, I thought how wonderful it would be if children in lockdown, or otherwise needing distraction during the strange and difficult time we’re passing through, illustrated the story for me. There will be suggestions about the illustrations we might need for each chapter on The Ickabog website, but nobody should feel constrained by these ideas. I want to see imaginations run wild! Creativity, inventiveness and effort are the most important things: we aren’t necessarily looking for the most technical skill!”.
She will not be judging the contest, instead publishers in each territory will select what illustration works best for their own published version of the story. “However, if parents and guardians post their children’s drawing on Twitter using the hashtag #TheIckabog, I’ll be able to share and comment! To find out more about the Illustration Competition, go to The Ickabog website when it launches.”
The children’s book The Ickabod will be published in November 2020 in English in print, eBook and audiobook formats, with other languages to soon follow.
Click here to read the first two chapters of The Ickabog.