For the millions of Harry Potter fans growing increasingly restless in coronavirus quarantine, J.K. Rowling has dug into her attic and found something that might help.
The author has announced that starting Tuesday, she'll be publishing her new children's book The Ickabog for free, releasing new chapters online every weekday. Rowling explained that she wrote most of her first draft of this fairy tale in between working on Harry Potter installments and intended to release it after Deathly Hallows, but it "went up into the attic" after she decided to take a break from children's books.
"A few weeks ago at dinner, I tentatively mooted the idea of getting The Ickabog down from the attic and publishing it for free, for children in lockdown," Rowling said. "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."
Now, kids can read the book or have it read to them during "these strange, unsettling times," Rowling said. Kids are also being called on by Rowling to submit illustrations as they go through The Ickabog, and the best ones will be included in the book when it's published in print and as an eBook later this year; all of Rowling's author royalties from the book will go to COVID-19 relief, she said. Rowling noted the book isn't a Harry Potter spin-off.