J.K. Rowling's next novel: 'The Casual Vacancy'
April 12th, 2012
11:53 AM ET

J.K. Rowling's next novel: 'The Casual Vacancy'

When J.K. Rowling announced that she was working on her first novel specifically geared toward adults, the demographic was about all fans had to go on.

But now we have a few more details - and a title.

Rowling's next book will be called "The Casual Vacancy," publisher Little, Brown has announced.

A book description on the publisher's site reveals that "The Casual Vacancy" will center on a town named Pagford, a seeming "English idyll" that's thrown into shock after the unexpected death of 40-something Barry Fairweather.

The description presents Pagford as "a little town" that is not as calm as it might seem on the surface. Behind the "pretty facade is a town at war...Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils."

So when Fairweather's passing leaves a vacancy on the parish council, that "empty seat...becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen" in the form of an "election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations."

Rowling said when she announced her next work that it'll be far different from the "Harry Potter" series that turned her into a household name.

"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," Rowling said in a statement at the time. "The freedom to explore new territory is a gift that Harry's success has brought me."

"The Casual Vacancy" will be available worldwide as a hardback, e-book and audio download on September 27.

Filed under: Books

soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. lynne

    I sincerely hope I am wrong, but...

    This seems very similar to a broad range of novels already out there, with most of those already dipping into a tedious and overdone plot structure. Small town, big event, subsequent fallout, etc. This is a model that is done to death. True, there are some shining examples but not every book can be To Kill a Mockingbird.

    Again, no one wants me proved wrong more than me, but it seems like there is little new ground to explore here.

    April 16, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Pete

    It doesn't have to be any good now that she's made it. Whatever words happen to be on the page, people will predecide in their minds that it's good because her name is in the author field.

    April 16, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  3. hoowol

    Even though I understand that anyone can criticize about anything, I really cannot accept some reviews degrading Harry Potter. Like some reviewers I agree with, I also want to ask those who wrote Harry is just for children and she doesn' have ability to write adults books that you even read Harry exactly. but, anyway.
    I trust Rowling and her new book! I'm so excited to see her story again. I knwo she will satisfy me as she did. Like a looooooooooot of Harry Potter fans, I just wanna read it soon!

    April 15, 2012 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
  4. limedestruction

    I think what Harry Potter had going for it was the story, the universe that she created. I wasn't ever really all that impressed by her writing style...hopefully she can bring something special to this new novel, because she doesn't have that great fantasy concept to hook us all.

    April 13, 2012 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  5. nybina

    It is pretty sad to see so many people judge JK Rowling on her new book when you have even read it yet. So what she created a great childerns book. Now she is trying a adult book give it a chance and try reading it before you state your mind. You all make it sound like she can't write and if you even read the Harry Potter book you know she has talent!! So get over it and don't judge until you actually read it!!!!!

    April 13, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • elusively2

      I am judging my interest level by the description Rowling herself gave. It doesn't pique my interest at all. We know she writes well, but that doesn't mean that every idea she has will be a winner. But yes, let's wait and see.

      April 13, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Critic69

    Boring.......have fun with that one people. She plagerized most of Harry Potter anyway.

    April 13, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. elusively2

    The description of the content sounds boring. I'm not interested in reading about all the convoluted stuff. I'll wait for the reviews. If she makes the story funny that might pique my interest, but if she makes it as dark as the last two Harry Potter books I'll pass, thank you very much. Lucky for her she has more money than God so she can dabble at doing anything she wants.

    April 13, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  8. Joe Pell

    Another hacks makes it big. English literature is in a sad state.

    April 13, 2012 at 11:35 am | Report abuse |
  9. Barneyjake


    April 13, 2012 at 11:13 am | Report abuse |
  10. ElKai0


    April 13, 2012 at 11:10 am | Report abuse |
  11. Larry Barnes

    There is nothing less informative than reading a review of a book by a reviewer who has not read it, nor has anyone else. Personally, I am going to wait until it comes out, read the reviews in publications in which I have faith, and then decide if I wish to read it or not. Personally I think the Harry Potter series are fabulous, and I'm 89 years old, and there will be no smart-ass remarks about second childhood, if you please.

    April 13, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
    • twm

      I am 50 loved the Harry potter series. If this book is exactly as described no way I buy it. We see all that every day on the news.

      April 13, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  12. pika

    the new novel's not of my interest. i mean who cares?? as much as we do have different views of interest, the thing is that the story's portrayal of an ordinary life which is wars or lets just simply say 'not-in-good-term-condition" between rich and poor, students and teachers, blahblah simply is because of their different standings in life, beliefs, uncommon behaviors...
    We're too full of that, even though it'll portray a lesson. why not use the signature? being a fantasy or bettermuch a writer of life's much impossible events to happen to mankind writer, witchcraft, princesses, magics, unimaginable possession of knowledge and whatsoever.
    Well, she can write whatever she wants, it's still good, my point is just that the new story's kinda boring, and we got already enough, coz whatever happens, things wouldnt just be in balance when they really arent balance and conflicts arises when people are in same boat, what's more when in different and way too far boat? .. it's just normal. try something very extra-ordinary, somthing like your Harry potter series..

    April 13, 2012 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
  13. PML

    What little has been written about JK's new book sounds boring, but that does not mean it will be. Good Luck with your new works JK.

    April 13, 2012 at 8:34 am | Report abuse |
  14. ken

    Most of you all writing comments about her not being able to write adult novels probably didn't read ALL the Harry Potter books, if not any. If you did you'd realize that she was pretty smart about it. The writing grew up with the readers. Heck, you can even tell by watching the movies that the story from one book to the next became more and more intense. And while some people may not enjoy Harry Potter, at the very least you have to give her her props. She's made more money in a single year since those books than EVERY person that has posted a comment on the this article has made in a lifetime...combined. So ya'll haters can keep hatin'. Shes filthy rich and we ain't....HA!

    April 13, 2012 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
  15. Sane

    Sounds extremely boring.

    April 13, 2012 at 6:57 am | Report abuse |
  16. Ted

    I'd say for being a single mom, she's done okay for herself.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:39 am | Report abuse |
  17. Christian

    How wonderful it would be, if J.K. Rowling continued to write spectacular, mature novels, and became an acclaimed, decorated adult novelist in the tradition of Dickens, Bronte, and her heroine Austen. Her fantasy was, and remains, enchanting, but it shall be interesting to see how she handles a novel outside of that world. Fine comment, Layne, and very true.

    April 12, 2012 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  18. LoJenk


    April 12, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  19. Kevin Snyder


    April 12, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Scaramouche

    This will more than likely be a terrible book. She is not and never will be a very good writer. Her actual writes of the Harry Potter stories were amateurish in the extreme and only heavy editing by professionals made them readable. Her claim to fame is that she had a terrific idea in Harry Potter.

    April 12, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • James S.

      Oh, SNAP, Scaramouche! You must be right because, you know, being a world-wide literary phenomenon who has sold millions of books and been single-handedly responsible for bringing children back to reading, you obviously know what what you're talking about. Right? I mean, you wouldn't be a troll sitting behind your computer waiting for your mom to bring your dinner down to the basement, would you? Would you?

      April 12, 2012 at 11:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Reason & Logic

      You're right. The industry is only interested in what sells and not what is of literary quality. There is a lot of junk out there.

      April 13, 2012 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  21. kevq

    Excited about the new book so I started a forum/message board to talk to others about the new book. Still working on it at the moment.


    April 12, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Lizzy10

    If Ms. Rowlings was writing names in a phone book, she would make it interesting. Can't wait.

    April 12, 2012 at 7:38 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Always TTime

    I think I'll wait & see what others think, not too sure about the story, ya know?

    April 12, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Dan

    Good for her for expanding her horizens, but her story line for this next book sounds boring. She'd better throw a wizard or a dragon in it to liven it up.

    April 12, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Varun

    She has the mind to write something for adults? I doubt it. She's a witch interested in onlymaking money by writing dumb fantasy material for dumb people.

    April 12, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paige

      Wow, seriously? And you're an idiot only interested in writing a worthless comment about an author you could care less about.
      If she wanted to make more money I don't think she would take a risk in writing an adult novel. She would just put out as much Harry Potter books as she could.
      But let's think about this for a moment.... She's an author. Authors write books. So naturally it's not a surprise she started another book entirely.

      April 12, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Sokman

    If she wrote this in the same style she wrote the Potter novels, adults may have a hard time getting behind this book. You can't write an adult novel in the same form as children's books. I think it would make it rather predictable. I'm sure sales will be great given who she is, but will be interested in what the fans, not critics, honestly have to say about it once they read it. I'm not one of those fans so I can't say i'd be an accurate judge.

    April 12, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jan

      People who call the Harry Potter series of novels "kiddy fiction" are ridiculously mistaken.

      April 13, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Sarah K.

      Have you read the HP series, Sokman? In terms of style, I'd be hard pressed to put this in a "childrens" category. It really is more advanced than the average "one, two, buckle my shoe..." and in my opinion is anything but predictable (otherwise, someone would have drafted this million dollar idea sooner, don't you think?) For those that actually read the series, the last 3 or 4 books have a much darker content, again, something I would not put in a children's category. Who knows, this new book may be complete crap, but I have faith that JK is a lot smarter than that and plans to steer completely away from anything relating to her previous work.

      April 13, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
  27. c smythe

    just another bodice ripper by the sounds of it . . .

    April 12, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  28. KP

    It's good to see that she is writing again and I look forward to this book because I enjoy her style of writing. I really hope she opens up the world of Harry Potter to other writers since there are a lot more stories that could be told. I would love to read more about Grindlewald and about the first time Voldemort rose to power.

    April 12, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Juggalo

    never looked at the books, love the movies.... Ill wait for the movies

    April 12, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
  30. nicole

    I'm glad that she's leaving kid's literature behind. A majority of our generation grew up with Harry Potter, so it's only appropriate for her to now move into fiction for adults (as our generation is now all adults). I can't wait to read something new from JK.

    April 12, 2012 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
  31. Digitus

    KatyKat – it sounds great to me. At some point you have to leave the kiddy-lit behind.

    April 12, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Layne

      C.S. Lewis didn't think so – "When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up," – C.S. Lewis

      April 12, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sane

      How about she leave this genre to the pro's and stick with whats worked for her?

      April 13, 2012 at 6:58 am | Report abuse |
  32. KatyKat

    Really hope this is better than it sounds.

    And – 1st...sad.

    April 12, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • twm

      Why would i want to read a book like that? Just have to turn on the news and it is chock full of that stuff every day. Rich vs Poor, Kids at war with mom and dad,husbands and wives bickering? Harry Potter was fantastic to read but by switching genres like this??

      April 13, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
  33. 1st

    : )

    April 12, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |

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