The Casual Vacancy is the first adult novel written by J K Rowling. The novel is set in a seemingly idyllic small town of Pagford where the parish councillor – Barry Fairbrother dies suddenly in his early forties, leaving a vacancy in the parish election. To the outsider, Pagford is a typical English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. And all is not what it seems as the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. With the rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils, this election becomes much more than a fight for a position on the council. And with an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations, who will emerge as triumphant?
There aren’t many people on the planet who have not heard of J K Rowling. Author of over 450 million copies of the Harry Potter series, which are sold in more than 200 countries, her books have been turned into eight blockbuster films. JK Rowling has also written two small volumes, which appear as the titles of Harry’s schoolbooks within the novels. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Quidditch Through The Ages were published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books in March 2001 in aid of Comic Relief. In December 2008, The Tales of Beedle the Bard was published in aid of the Children’s High Level Group, and quickly became the fastest selling book of the year. JK Rowling has been awarded an OBE for services to children’s literature, and is also the recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees which include the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord, France’s Légion d’Honneur, and the Hans Christian Andersen Award. JK Rowling has recently been a Commencement Speaker at Harvard University USA. JK Rowling supports a wide number of charitable causes through her charitable trust Volant, and is the founder of Lumos, a charity working to transform the lives of disadvantaged children.
Most press and media surrounding her first adult novel has been predictably positive, with Celebrity blogger Perez Hilton writing, “The Casual Vacancy is the first book J K Rowling wrote since … giving birth to the most massively popular franchise of young adult novels this galaxy ever saw … needless to say, the entire muggle-born world is curious to see how this plays out! Two million hardcover copies of Vacancy have casually been pre-ordered and, flop or not, we expect even more will sell!” However, not everyone is a fan it would seem as Telegraph writer Sameer Rahim writes, “While her millions of fans are no doubt doing cartwheels … the rest of us can be forgiven for holding back our enthusiasm … though I haven’t, of course, seen a word of it: the publishers would probably shoot me if I had – I imagine it’ll be as similarly well done … as Harry Potter. What I find depressing, though, is the amount of attention the Rowling juggernaut will get – attention disproportionate to the quality of her work.”
The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling will be published worldwide in the English language in hardback, ebook, unabridged audio download and on CD on Thursday 27th September 2012.