JK Rowling: Releasing The Ickabog gave me a sense of purpose during lockdown

Tom Horton, PA
·2-min read

JK Rowling has said writing The Ickabog during the pandemic gave her a “sense of purpose” as she worried about the impact of coronavirus on families.

The Harry Potter author told BBC Radio 2 she was inspired to release the children’s book as she thought “how difficult it was going to be for families with children”.

She said it has been a “dreadful year for everyone”.

Discussing her book, she added: “It did give me a particular sense of purpose thinking, ‘This can help, this can do something’, because I’m married to a doctor, which makes you feel very inadequate when there’s a pandemic going on.

“Watching people in my family who are key workers go out there and face it all, simultaneously I was so proud of everyone but I was feeling anxious for them.”

Rowling said she was very aware of the challenges that some families were facing.

“I just know how difficult it was going to be for families with young children and particularly people who didn’t have gardens.

“It is really intense, looking after small children, if they can’t have play dates.

“I was just thinking, ‘This is going to be so tough for people’, and that’s when I thought I could do something.”

She added: “It gave me something under lockdown that I could never have had otherwise, it was so inspiring.”

Rowling, who is married to Neil Murray, also discussed putting on a disguise when she went to buy her wedding dress.

“We got married very quietly and we had been hassled a bit by the press and just wanted to be able to have a very private wedding ceremony, so I did wear a disguise.

“I was so paranoid and so I put on a disguise to buy it.”

Rowling declined to answer interviewer Graham Norton’s question about what she wore to conceal her identity.