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Updated: February 25, 2012 00:18 IST

J.K. Rowling forays into grown-up territory

Hasan Suroor
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J.K. Rowling
AP J.K. Rowling

After casting a spell on children, J.K. Rowling is set to tackle adults with her first novel for grown-ups, tentatively due out later this year — though like the witches' magic brew, its theme, title and exact date of publication remain a closely guarded secret.

Ms. Rowling has signed a worldwide deal with Little Brown ditching her current publishers Bloomsbury, prompting speculation whether they had been “outbid” by Little Brown though she insisted that her choice of a new publisher had nothing to do with money. She described it as a “a logical progression” to have a new publisher for the “new territory” she was going to explore. In a statement, Ms. Rowling said the success of the Potter series had given her the “freedom to explore new territory” and she was “delighted to have a second publishing home in Little Brown”.

“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,” she said in a statement.

Little Brown said they were “thrilled, honoured and proud”.

“For me, quite simply, it is a personal and professional dream come true to be working with JK Rowling,” said David Shelley who will be handling the British edition.

If there was disappointment at Bloomsbury, who discovered Ms. Rowling and published all seven of her Potter books that have sold more than 450 million copies, they tried hard to suppress it insisting that their relationship with the author remained “stronger than ever”.

The news set the literary world buzzing with some wondering whether she would be able to cast the same spell on fellow-adults as she had on children.

“It will be interesting to see if she can establish a new readership, and of course many of the original Potter readers have grown up. Yet for some adults she may always remain a children's author,” said Liz Thomson of the industry website Bookbrunch.

And what the new book would be about?

Ian Rankin, the famous Scottish crime writer, wished that her fellow Scot would have a stab at a “crime story set in Edinburgh”.

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