After nearly a decade since starting the story, Rowling pulled her draft down from the attic (where it sat in a box!) to revisit it.
“I had the idea for The Ickabog a long time ago and read it to my two younger children chapter by chapter each night while I was working on it,” JK Rowling explained on The Ickabog’s website. “Then this lockdown happened. It’s been very hard on children, in particular, so I brought The Ickabog down from the attic, read it for the first time in years, rewrote bits of it and then read it to my children again.”
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.
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.)
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) May 26, 2020
Rowling will release a new chapter on The Ickabog website every weekday until July 10, where it can be accessed for free. She’s also asked children to draw their own illustrations to accompany the story in an Illustration Competition. Parents of children ages 7-12 can enter their drawings or paintings for the opportunity to be featured in the book. “I’ll be giving suggestions as to what to draw as we go along, but you should let your imagination run wild,” Rowling said.
In November, the book will be available in print, ebook and audiobook versions, and the best illustrations will be chosen to adorn the pages of each foreign edition.
Rowling said she’ll donate all royalties for the story to those who have been affected by COVID-19.