In a bid to help parents eager to entertain their children locked down at home sue to the COVID-19 Pandemic, widely celebrated author of the Harry Potter series ,J.K Rowling, has announced that she will be releasing the first two installments of of an online serialization of a fairy tale that she wrote more than 10 years ago called The Ickabog. The first installments went live at 10 a.m. Eastern time (7 a.m. Pacific time).
The Ickabog, Rowling wrote on a blog about its origins, “is a story about truth and the abuse of power.” A vocal critic of right-wing U.K. and U.S. politicians and their repressive policies, Rowling adds, “To forestall one obvious question: the idea came to me well over a decade ago, so 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.
At least one chapter and up to three of its 34 chapters, Rowling says, will be posted every weekday from today through July 10 on a dedicated website, www.theickabog.com. The series is free to readers.
There’s more good news for Rowling’s fans: print and digital editions of The Ickabog will be published in November in the English language in the U.K., Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and India by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, and in the U.S. and Canada by Scholastic. The audiobook will be released by Audible at the same time as the publication of the Scholastic edition.
International editions will publish from November onwards: in France by Gallimard Jeunesse; in Italy by Adriano Salani Editore; in Germany by Carlsen Verlag; in Spain by Ediciones Salamandra; and in Brazil by Editora Rocco.
Rowling is dedicating her royalties from sales of The Ickabog to projects assisting people affected by the pandemic. In conjunction with the serialization, Rowling’s publishers are holding official competitions for young artists, who are invited to illustrate the chapters as they go live. Winning illustrations will be included in the various published editions of The Ickabog.
According to a release, the competition is launching today in the U.K., Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, India, the U.S., and Canada, with other countries following suit. The release states, “It’s a truly international competition between the writer and young artists around the world.” Rowling will not judge submissions, but she will be suggesting key scenes and characters that might be suitable to highlight with visuals.
Also, using #theickabog hashtag, children (or their parents/guardians if they are under 13) are encouraged to post their Ickabog-related drawings on social media platforms. Rowling promises to, the release states, “drop in on Twitter occasionally to pick out some of her favorites.” A selection of images will also be posted on a gallery on the Ickabog website.