J K Rowling Posts

On fan fiction

Here is a short clip on fanfiction. It was triggered by a conversation I had with a friend upon reading Keshav Guha’s debut novel Accidental Magic ( Harper Collins India ) and Stephen Alter’s Feral Dreams ( Aleph Publications). This is a new space for modern literature especially as access to the Internet and new forms of edevices proliferate. As I say in the video, The Wired noted in 2015 that more than 1 billion minutes per month were being spent either creating or reading material on fanfiction websites such as Wattpad. Of these 90% of the users accessed the websites using their mobiles.
Fanfiction is a modern literary phenomenon whose popularity is astonishing and understandable. It permits people who are infatuated with the books that they have read, characters, plots and/or literary landscapes to explore the oft asked question, “What If?”. It is also permitted to flourish by the original creators as long it sticks within the purview of the fair use clause of copyright laws and is not commercially exploited. It is a win-win situation as it allows the readers to exercise their writing skills, get feedback in real time from other users and it allows the writers to see their stories/characters remain in focus. In fact in a Bookseller article discussing Rainbow Rowell writing Harry Potter fan fiction, quoted a spokesman for Rowling’s literary agency, The Neil Blair Partnership, to say: “Our view on Harry Potter fan fiction is broadly that it should be non-commercial and should also not be distributed through commercial websites. Writers should write under their own name and not as J K Rowling. Content should not be inappropriate – also any content not suitable for young readers should be marked as age restricted.”

Fanfiction writing has spawned some bestselling authors in the West such as E L James of Fifty Shades of Grey and Cassandra Clare who wrote the Shadowhunter series. In India, it is still restricted to online spaces but in print there are a few examples. Not exactly in the definition of what constitutes fan fiction, a tribute, an imitative act, an exploration but Keshav Guha writes a form of fiction that is pays obeisance to Pottermania but also investigates what it means to be in this mostly online world. Stephen Alter’s Feral Dreams extends the story beyond the original and makes it his own but in his case the original work is out of the copyright domain, so these literary creations using the original characters are absolutely acceptable.

Sherlock Holmes is another literary character who has given rise to many, many fan fiction stories — offline and online. People have explored this for years and publishers regularly commission stories for young and older readers.

Fanfiction is here to stay.

6 Jan 2021

“Ickabog” by J. K. Rowling

Ickabog by J K Rowling was released in early November 2020 by Hachette. It is a story that she used to tell her children at bedtime. When the pandemic began, Rowling began to release it chapter by chapter on her website. Then she invited children to illustrate the story. For the print edition, a few of these exceptional illustrations were selected. A stunning hardback edition was created with a deep green-blue-gold cover.

Hachette India very kindly sent a copy. Before I could get to it, my ten-year-old daughter read it. It has been ages since I have seen Sarah immersed in a book. She refused to budge from her chair, instead she read and read. It was such a pleasure to see. This is the second Rowling publication this year that has proven her credentials as an amazing storyteller. ( The other book being Troubled Blood published as Robert Galbraith.) As soon as she finished reading the book, Sarah wrote this short book review.

Sarah reading “Ickabog”

Here is Sarah Rose’s book review

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“The Ickabog” by J K Rowling

       “As tall as 2 horses.
    Eyes like glowing balls of fire.

          Long, razor-sharp claws.

The Ickabog is coming…”

This is J K Rowling’s latest book: “The Ickabog” 

It is about this kingdom called Cornucopia and its kingdoms: Jeroboam, Kurdsburg, Baronstown. But it is mainly set in the capital: Chouxville.

      The king (Fred the fearless) had two friends – Lords Spittleworth and Flapoon. They both take advantage of King Fred. Since he thinks they are jolly good chaps and always take their advice! On the day of the petition, King Fred decides to be on his best behaviour. Since some of his citizens thought he was vain, selfish, and cruel. The king tried to be the opposite of all those things. Back to the day of petition, a man entered when the petition time ended and claimed that the Ickabog had eaten up his dog and asked the king for help and to hunt down the Ickabog.  

        Almost everyone in Cornucopia believes that the Ickabog is just a legend and created to scare the children. But some believe that the monster is real! King Fred did not want to make people think that he did not want to go after a mythical monster. But most of all, he did not want other people to think that he was scared; so, he went on the 3-day trip to hunt the monster down. The Ickabog lives in the Marshlands. Where it is like a swamp. There is not enough food for the people and the sheep to live in. The king of Cornucopia has an encounter with the Ickabog, and he skipped so many heartbeats!

     King Fred got so scared that he did not come out of Chouxville for a long time. In the Marshlands, while everybody was scattered due to the immense, thick fog, Lord Flapoon thought that he had heard the Ickabog and took out his blunderbuss and shot. But did not shoot the Ickabog. He shot Major Beamish, the head of the army and a father. When they came back to Chouxville, (which was a 3-day ride on horseback) the mother and the son soon found out that the body under the cloth is their father and husband. How do you ask? Lord Spittleworth tells them. But he did not tell him that Flapoon killed him with his blunderbuss, but he told them that the Ickabog attacked and killed him while he was trying to protect the king….

     What I really liked about the book is how four friends (Martha, Roderick, Daisy and Bert) stop at nothing to save Cornucopia and its citizens. But what I did not like was how and why Lord Spittleworth was blackmailing the king by tricking him into making the citizens of Cornucopia will have to pay by giving the Ickabog Defence Brigade money and gold which equals to poverty because Spittleworth kept on increasing the prices. But he also took most of the money himself. What I also don’t like is how Spittleworth keeps on telling lies and killing people so that his awful plans would not be ruined.        

      If I had to rate this book from 1 to 10, I would give it 100!!! It is such a delightful book! I do not know about you, but I really love adventure, action, and fantasy. And this book was the definition of all that! And After you turn every page, the plot thickens…there are always twists. For the age group I guess it would be for everyone!

Thank you!

2 Jan 2021

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