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Why Kids Might Not Be Able To Read JK Rowling's Latest Project

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It's been 20 years since the first installment of the Harry Potter series was first published in the United States, and six years since the last of the eight movies based on the beloved children's series debuted in theaters. By crafting the beguiling world of wizardry that morphed into an insanely profitable franchise, author J.K. Rowling transformed children's literature — but she hasn't come out with a book specifically for that demographic since. In a new interview, though, the British author shared some fascinating news: J.K. Rowling wrote a political fairy tale for kids. The problem? The text of the project is currently hanging in a closet, and it may never be published.

Let's back up. Rowling sat down with CNN's Christiane Amanpour to discuss her children's charity, Lumos, and ended up revealing the status of a project that fans would surely go nuts over. When she hosted a 50th birthday party recently, she encouraged her guests to attend dressed as their own private nightmares. Of course, Rowling joined in, too, depicting with her outfit a very specific fear, as she told Amanpour:

And I went as a lost manuscript. And I wrote over a dress most of that book. So that book, I don't know whether it will ever be published, but it's actually hanging in a wardrobe currently.

For anyone who loves Rowling's work, the idea that she has a manuscript stashed away somewhere is incredibly tantalizing. Since wrapping up the Harry Potter series, she's come out with a slew of books for adults, including The Casual Vacancy and the Cormoran Strike detective novels under the pen name Robert Galbraith. Another generation of children is growing up enchanted by Harry Potter, but for them to have a new round of Rowling, with new release dates to obsess over and new kid-centric material to devour all in one night, would bring a new kind of joy. Unfortunately, Rowling clearly isn't in any hurry to share this one with the world. Still, this isn't the first time she's referenced it.

Way back in 2007, the same year the final Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, was published, Rowling mentioned to TIME that she was working on a "political fairy tale" for kids. She offered no other details, but made it plain that future projects wouldn't feature Harry himself:

If, and it's a big if, I ever write an eighth book about the [wizarding ] world, I doubt that Harry would be the central character. I feel like I've already told his story. But these are big ifs. Let's give it 10 years and see how we feel then.
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A political fairy tale would be an appropriate addition to Rowling's body of work, as she's vocal about her political beliefs in real life: Her criticism of President Donald Trump has prompted a Twitter feud with her own fans, for example, and she was vehemently opposed to Brexit.

In 2016, a fan tweeted Rowling to check up on the progress of the fairy tale, and Rowling responded honestly. "I didn't like it enough to publish it," she wrote back. "It's in a drawer!" This was after Rowling, 51, would have turned 50 and thrown the "personal nightmare" party in 2015, so it's more than likely that the manuscript was written out on a dress and hanging in a closet by the time she offered that update.

One thing's for sure: If Rowling ever does decide to publish the political fairy tale, fans would certainly like it enough to buy millions of copies.