George R.R. Martin has broken his year-long radio silence on The Winds of Winter to confirm that he hopes to release the book in 2017.
Martin cautions that he had hoped to release the book in 2016, prior to Season 6 of Game of Thrones debuting in April and clearly failed to hit that deadline, and makes no guarantees that the book will be out this year. However, it is his current aspiration.
The previous book in the series, A Dance with Dragons, was released in July 2011, itself five years and nine months after the previous volume, A Feast for Crows. The Winds of Winter will break this record if it is not released by April, which does not seem likely at this stage. Publication before Game of Thrones begins its seventh and penultimate season in late June 2017 also seems a little ambitious (but not completely impossible).
The turn-around from hand-in to publication for the novel will be around three months. To get the book out before 2017 ends, Martin will have to turn the manuscript in around August of this year.
Martin declined to provide a page count update for the novel. However, in January 2016 he confirmed that he had completed hundreds of manuscript pages and dozens of chapters. The Winds of Winter is expected to approach the size of A Dance with Dragons and A Storm of Swords, which both had over 70 chapters and 1,500 manuscript pages.