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J.K. Rowling releases first chapters of new book

Pauline Songco

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“HARRY Potter” author J.K. Rowling releases children’s story “The Ickabog” online. Photograph by Debra Hurford Brown © J.K. Rowling 2018

To help children and families stuck at home because of the pandemic, British author J.K. Rowling released the first two chapters of her upcoming book The Ickabog online for free on Tuesday, 26 May. Daily installments will follow until 10 July.

“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. 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,” she wrote on her website.

Rowling was still working on the Harry Potter series a decade ago when she began writing The Ickabog, a fairy tale story that she admitted she intended to keep only for her children. It introduces King Fred the Fearless, ruler of Cornucopia, five-year-old Bert Beamish, and the horrible monster called “The Ickabog” who feasts on children and sheep.

The book, intentionally written for children aged seven to nine, will be out in print in November. Royalties from its sales will be dedicated to projects helping those particularly affected by the pandemic, Rowling said.

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