The first novel for adults by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling
will be the "blackly comic" tale of a fraught parish council
election in a quaint English town, her publishers announced
The 408-page novel "The Casual Vacancy" follows the fallout of
councillor Barry Fairweather's sudden death in the fictional town
of Pagford, a world away from that inhabited by the famous boy
wizard, publishers Little, Brown said.
With its cobbled market square and ancient abbey, Pagford may
look like an English idyll, "but what lies behind the pretty
faÃ§ade is a town at war", they said in a statement.
"Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents,
wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their
pupils... Pagford is not what it first seems," the publishers
"And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon
becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen.
Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity
and unexpected revelations?"
Rowling laid down her pen -- and Harry's magic wand -- when she
finished the seventh and final Potter book in 2007, and since
then the series has sold more than 450 million copies around the
world in 74 languages.
The 46-year-old is Britain's 15th wealthiest woman, according to
The Sunday Times newspaper's Rich List 2011, with a Â£530 million
($830 million, 625 million euro) fortune.
The Potter books were made into eight films, with the last,
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows -- Part 2" making more than
$1 billion last year.
"The Casual Vacancy" will be released worldwide in English on
September 27 in hardback, ebook, audio download and CD formats,
Little, Brown said.
Rowling has changed publishers for the novel, leaving behind
Bloomsbury, with whom she became the world's best-paid author.