Photograph: Courtesy J.K. Rowling
Photograph: Courtesy J.K. Rowling

J.K. Rowling needs a young illustrator for her unpublished book, “The Ickabog”

Here's how your little artist can get involved!

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Years ago, J. K. Rowling wrote The Ickabog, a story she read to her children at night. Rather than finish the book and send it to her publisher as planned, she set it aside—until now.

According to the author, she rewrote pieces of the book during lockdown, read it again and decided to share it with us. Starting today, she will release her never-before-seen The Ickabog in installments over the next seven weeks for free online. Sometimes she'll post a chapter, sometimes more. The first two chapters are now available.

The book will be published in November, and that's where your little reader comes in:

Rowling decided The Ickabog will be illustrated by a child. Rowling and Scholastic created an illustration competition open to children ages 7–12 that's completely free to enter. Every installment, Rowling will post a list of themes to help guide your little artist. Creativity is key. "You should let your imagination run wild," she said.

Rowling is careful to point out that this isn't a Harry Potter story. (Potterheads can always visit the completely revamped Harry Potter hub at Wizarding World, or watch Daniel Radcliffe read Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone from his couch.) Instead, The Ickabog is a part of a completely original mythology, with new characters and adventures. Will it become one of the 101 best books for kids of all ages? You can tell us in seven weeks.

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