A new chapter as Harry Potter author JK Rowling pens a book for adults
SHE spoke of floods of tears and a "sense of bereavement" when writing the last Harry Potter book, but JK Rowling is now ready to move on.
The author has signed a publishing deal to release her first novel for adults, in what is one of the most anticipated literary launches in years.
The subject matter, title and release date are being kept under wraps. However, within minutes of yesterday's announcement, the internet was abuzz with rumours of the book's genre. Speculation was stoked by Rowling's elusive comment that "the freedom to explore new territory is a gift that Harry's success has brought me".
Ian Rankin, whose successful Rebus detective novels are set in Edinburgh, the city where Rowling famously sat in coffee shops to stave off cold as she wrote the first Harry Potter book, hinted that it would be a crime novel.
"Wouldn't it be funny if JK Rowling's first novel for adults turned out to be a crime story set in Edinburgh?" he commented to his Twitter followers.
All that is known is that worldwide English rights to the book, whose genre, release date and subject matter are shrouded in secrecy, have been snapped up by publisher Little, Brown.
The deal means that Rowling's long-standing relationship with Bloomsbury, the London-based publisher that launched the Harry Potter books, has come to an end, at least in terms of new works by the author.
Rowling, who is worth an estimated £530m (€624.5m), said that the new novel will be nothing like the Harry Potter series, which sold over 30 million copies in the UK alone.
She said that with the move from children's to adult fiction, a move to a new publisher seemed like a logical step.
She said: "Although I've enjoyed writing it every bit as much, my next book will be very different to the Harry Potter series, which has been published so brilliantly by Bloomsbury and my other publishers around the world.
"The freedom to explore new territory is a gift that Harry's success has brought me, and with that new territory it seemed a logical progression to have a new publisher."
Rowling said that she was "delighted" to have a "second publishing home" in Little, Brown in what she described as a "new phase" of her writing life.
It is understood that there was no bidding war for the book as it was not put up for auction.
In a statement, Bloomsbury said: "The relationship between JK Rowling and Bloomsbury remains stronger than ever." (© Daily Telegraph, London)