J.K. Rowling publishes fairy tale so children can dream in lockdown

J.K. Rowling releases new book, ‘The Ickabog,’ for free online during coronavirus pandemic for children ’during these strange, unsettling times’

J.K. Rowling has good news for locked-down fans looking for a Dobby, er, hobby.

On Twitter, she announced this through 13 threads, which read, "Over 10 years ago, I wrote a stand-alone fairy tale called The Ickabog".

The Ickabog is a fairytale, and is Rowling's first children's story not to be connected to Harry Potter.

Having stepped away from writing children's books, Rowling read the story to her own children when they were young, but never published it.

She wrote she chose to release it this way so children can read it or have it read to them "during these odd, unsettling times".

In typical Rowling style, it ain't a pamphlet.

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New chapters will go live on the Ickabog website at 3 p.m. GMT daily between now and July, starting with the first two on Tuesday.

Along with the street signboard, J.K.Rowling also had a tweet that read, " Real Harry Potter inspiration alert: I walked past this sign every day on my way to work when I was living in Clapham. Instead, she went on to write adult novels including The Casual Vacancy, and The Cuckoo's Calling under her pseudonym Robert Galbraith. "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)". Though meant for kids, she says it's a story "about truth and the abuse of power", but notes it has nothing to do with the current state of the world. The published edition of the book will feature illustrations from children, which Rowling envisions as another activity for those who are now staying home due to the coronavirus.

According to the author, "The Ickabog" will be published in segments online for free, leading to the eventual publishing of a book.

"The themes are timeless and could apply to any era or any country", stressed Rowling, who has been critical in recent days of the United Kingdom government's response to the Dominic Cummings crisis. "I want to see imaginations run wild!"

Rowling published the final Potter book in 2007.

"If parents or guardians would like to post artwork on the hashtag #TheIckabog, I'll be able to retweet and comment!" It can be read for free on a new website launching shortly. She also plans to release the novel as a print book - plus an e-book and audiobook - in November and will donate proceeds to groups that have been impacted by the Covid pandemic. "We'll give full details later in the year", Rowling added.

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