JK Rowling announces new fairy tale for children will be published free online

JK Rowling has announced she is publishing a stand-alone fairy tale called The Ickabog and will make it available for free online for children in lockdown or back at school.

The Harry Potter author said she wrote the story 10 years ago but put it away in a box in the attic as she published her novels for adults.

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The stars from left to right; Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson with the author J K Rowling arrive for world premiere of 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone at the Odeon Leicester Square in London.
Harry Potter author J.K Rowling signs a fans shirt at the Waterstone`s book shop in Edinburgh as she launches her new book Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
Author, Joanne Kathleen Rowling, 34, (J K Rowling) at Kings Cross Station London at the launch of her new Harry Potter book, 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire'. The fourth book, in series of seven which have now combined sold more than 35 million copies. * The Goblet of Fire has achieved advanced sales of two million. 25/11/2000: JK Rowling's latest Harry Potter offering has been pipped to a children's book prize by a re-telling of the classic A Pilgrim's Progress. Geraldine McCaughrean's version of John Bunyan's work scooped the first ever Blue Peter Book Of The Year Award. * 16/02/2001 dated 8/7/00 of Harry Potter author Joanne Kathleen Rowling. Teenage wizard Harry Potter has enchanted library users by sweeping to the top of the lending league for children's books, figures showed Friday February 16, 2001. JK Rowling's best-selling creation took the first three places for kids' books in the annual round-up of reads with Harry Potter and The Philospher's Stone at number one.
Author JK Rowling (2nd right) with director alfonso Cuaron and the stars from left to right, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe at the UK premiere of Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban at the Odeon Leicester Square in Central London, the third film from author JK Rowling's series of books on the boy wizard.
Whitney Stanbra, 6, from Basingstoke poses with a 'Platform 9 and 3/4' sign beside a special WAGN Harry Potter train arrives on Platform 9 at King's Cross station in London before beginning its first ever passenger journey from London King's Cross to Cambridge. * King's Cross station plays a leading role in the film 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' which is released at cinemas across the country.
A special WAGN Harry Potter train arrives on Platform 9 at King's Cross station in London before beginning its first ever passenger journey from London King's Cross to Cambridge. King's Cross station plays a leading role in the film 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone'. * ... which is released at cinemas across the country.
Actors Robbie Coltrane (rear), and (from left) Rupert Grint Emma Watson and Warwick Davis at Kingscross Station, central London, for the Harry Potter & The Philosopher's Stone - DVD & video launch party.
Stars from the latest Harry Potter film 'Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets' (from left) Emma Watson, Daniel Radcliffe and Rupert Grint, during a photocall at the Guildhall, London, to promote the new film.
Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Harry Potter (left) with the characters creator JK Rowling (centre) and co-star Emma Watson as they arrive for the celebrity film premiere of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets at the Odeon Leicester Square, London.
The cast, crew and author arrive for the celebrity film premiere of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets at the Odeon Leicester Square in London's West End.
The stars of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, from left to right; Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson during the worldwide launch of the DVD/VHS at Leavesden Studios in north London.
The cast and crew of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets during the worldwide launch of the DVD/VHS at Leavesden Studios in north London.
Five girls head the queue outside Waterstones in Piccadilly, London for the eagerly awaited fifth installment of Harry Potter. The girls (from left) Suzanna Dickson, Stevie Finegan, Savannah Mazda, Vienna Francis-Mullins and Sinead Miller, * .. all from London, have been waiting for nearly eight hours to ensure they get a copy of Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix. harrypottergal
The stars, from left to right; Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint pose for photographers during a photocall to promote the new Harry Potter movie 'Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban' at The Gladstone Library in central London.
MTV presenter Dave Berry (left) with Harry Potter stars Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson during their guest appearance on MTV TRL UK at the MTV Studios's in Camden.
Star of the film Daniel Radcliffe arrives for the UK premiere of Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban at the Odeon Leicester Square in Central London, the third film from author JK Rowling's series of books on the boy wizard.
Emma Watson, J.K Rowling, Rupert Grint and Daniel Radcliffe arriving at the premiere of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Leicester Square, London ©Doug Peters/allactiondigital.
Author JK Rowling (centre right) and stars of the film Daniel Radcliffe (left), Rupert Grint and Emma Watson arrive for the UK premiere of Harry Potter And The Prisoner of Azkaban at the Odeon Leicester Square in Central London, the third film from author JK Rowling's series of books on the boy wizard.
(From left to right) Rupert Grint (Ron), Emma Watson (Hermione), and Daniel Radcliffe (Harry) arrive for the Global DVD & VHS Launch party of Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, at Middle Temple in central London
JK Rowling arrives at Edinburgh Castle for the Launch party for her latest Harry Potter Book, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Jennifer Ellison, Hagrid and Professor Dumbledore during a visit to hand out copies of the new Harry Potter book, which was released at midnight.
Fans brave the rain outside the Odeon cinema in London's Leicester Square in anticipation of the arrivals for the world premiere of the new film 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire', Sunday November 6, 2005. See PA story SHOWBIZ Potter. PRESS ASSOCIATION photo. Photo credit should read: Yui Mok/PA.
The Harry Potter films win the Empire Outstanding Contribution Award at the Sony Ericsson Empire Film Awards 2006, from the Hilton London Metropole, central London, Monday 13 March 2006. See PA story SHOWBIZ Empire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Photo credit should read: Ian West/PA
The cast of Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix, (left to right) Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, and Daniel Radcliffe, on the Thames Terrace of County Hall in south London, ahead of the European premiere of the film next week.
Emma Watson arrives for the UK Premiere of Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix at the Odeon Leicester Square, central London.
Emma Watson arriving at the European Premiere of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Odeon Cinema, Leicester Square, London.
JK Rowling at the launch of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows at The Natural History Museum in London
The cast of Harry Potter receive the award for Best Family Film for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix during The National Movie Awards at the Royal Festival Hall, central London.
(from left to right) Tom Felton, Emma Watson, Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe, Bonnie Wright and Jessie Cave are seen at a photocall to launch the new film, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, at Claridges Hotel in central London.
Rupert Grint (left), Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe (right) arriving for the world premiere of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince at the Odeon Leicester Square, London.
Rupert Grint, Emma Watson and Daniel Radcliffe arrive for the world premiere of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince at the Odeon Leicester Square, London.
(left to right) Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, JK Rowling and Rupert Grint arriving for the World Premiere of Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows : Part One, at the Odeon West End, Leicester Square, London.
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Rowling said she has now retrieved it and done some re-writing and will be publishing a chapter online every weekday.

Sharing the news on Twitter, she wrote: "I have a small announcement, but before I get started, I want to head off one possible source of confusion. THIS IS NOT A HARRY POTTER SPIN-OFF.

"Over 10 years ago, I wrote a stand-alone fairy tale called The Ickabog."

She added: "I always meant to publish it, but after the last Potter was released I wrote two novels for adults and, after some dithering, decided to put those out next.

"Until very recently, the only people who'd heard the story of The Ickabog were my two younger children.

"Over time I came to think of The Ickabog as just for my family. The manuscript went up into the attic, where it remained until a few weeks ago."

Sharing a photo of the book she kept the pages on, she added: "This is the very dusty box I got down from the attic. (It's a Net-A-Porter box and might well have held a premiere dress.)

"Opening the box was like opening a time capsule. Most of the story was handwritten, but bits had been typed up. When I put it into some kind of order (I'm not renowned for my filing skills) I had a patchwork first draft."

She continued: "Anyway I've decided to publish The Ickabog for free online, so children on lockdown, or even those back at school during these strange, unsettling times, can read it or have it read to them.

"We'll be publishing a chapter (or 2 or 3) every weekday, starting at 3.00pm today and ending on July 10th. You don't need to register to access the story. You can read it for free on a new website we'll be launching shortly. But there's more...

"I'd like children to illustrate the book for me! I'll be suggesting ideas for pictures as we go, but nobody should feel constrained by my ideas. Let your imaginations run wild!"

Rowling said best pictures in each publishing territory will be included in the books she intends to publish in November 2020.

She added she will not be judging the competition but encouraged parents or guardians to share the picture on social media.

She continued: "Lastly, I intend to donate my author royalties from the published books to projects and organisations helping the groups most impacted by Covid-19. Full details will be made available later in the year.

"The first two chapters of The Ickabog will be going live in a couple of hours time. Whether you read it yourself, or have it read to you, I hope you enjoy it."

Earlier this month Rowling announced she was donating £1 million to help the homeless and those affected by domestic abuse during the coronavirus pandemic.

Announcing the financial contribution – which will be split between the Crisis and Refuge charities – Rowling said the money would go towards helping some of those hit hardest by the outbreak and the impact of the lockdown.

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