(File image) British author JK Rowling. Photo: Joel Ryan

 With themes of drug addiction and prostitution, The Casual Vacancy was a very grown-up first foray into adult fiction for JK Rowling.

So news that the Harry Potter author will be returning to the more familiar territory of children’s literature will delight her younger fans – and probably a few older ones too.

Miss Rowling revealed that her next book will be for children ‘slightly younger’ than the Harry Potter target audience of ages 9-11.

In response to a question from a child at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, she said: ‘Being the writer of Harry Potter gave me an absolute horror of committing myself.’ She later added: ‘If the next book I publish is the one I think it will be, I have told my children about it and they really like it so that was quite encouraging.

‘It is for slightly younger children than Harry Potter was.’

Another novel for adults is also in the pipeline, she said.

The Casual Vacancy, which focuses on the politics of the parish council in the fictional town of Pagford, sold 2.6million copies before it hit the shops.

But it has divided critics, who denounced it as ‘unadventurous’, ‘bland’ and full of ‘mean, graceless people without a trace of magic’. - Daily Mail