Publisher Spotlight: Oneworld Publications + Rock the Boat

A Good Day for Climbing Trees

It may only be August, but Oneworld Publications is already on lists. Awards lists, that is.

It’s hard to keep track of the London-based independent publisher’s 2018 nominations. Luckily, the “News” section of their website documents each shortlist, finalist, and honoree. The page’s most recent announcements show that the Spanish-to-English translation of Fever Dream won the Shirley Jackson Award for best novella and the critically-adored translation of Frankenstein in Baghdad was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize, among other mentions. Not that the press is a stranger to the MBIP—Oneworld counts consecutive Man Book Prize wins among its achievements, a commendable feat even for the largest of publishing houses.

There are many reasons why Oneworld Publications continues to bring in awards year after year, one being a steadfast investment in quality writing above all. For thirty-two years, the press has worked to bring an eclectic mix of genres to English-readers, ensuring that each represents the best of their kind. Genre categories include art, self-help, biography (I can’t wait to read Heart: a History), humor, nature, and fiction, among others. In addition, the press has an entire section dedicated to translated fiction. These titles that range in style from Israeli thrillers to Brazilian dark comedies, demonstrating a truly varied collection of global stories.

Children’s books are also among the genres available from Oneworld Publications. Most youth librarians are familiar with The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly, the international bestseller written by Sun-mi Hwang and translated by Chi-Young Kim. After the success of Hwang’s plucky protagonist (chicken puns!), Oneworld opened a children’s and YA imprint called Rock the Boat. Though the website doesn’t come out and say it, it’s clear that the imprint got its name because of its mission to not be shy of pushing boundaries and breaking out of traditional ideas” when it comes to publishing books for youth. The company logo says it all.

Rock the boat

Rock the Boat is interested in bringing fresh perspectives to young English readers. This includes international books that have yet to be published in English. One of their recent titles gained pre-publication attention as an honoree in BookTrust’s 2017 In Other Words competition—“a prize to promote the translation and UK publication of outstanding children’s literature from around the world”. Finalist Jaco Jacobs’ middle-grade novel, A Good Day for Climbing Trees, follows the story of Marnus, a South African boy who feels overshadowed by his two brothers and overlooked by everyone else. Then Leila appears at his door with a petition, and Marnus suddenly finds himself up a tree with a girl he doesn’t know and the eyes of the entire town on him. Everyone is noticing him now.

A Good Day for Climbing Trees is a comedic read with surprising emotional depth. It’s a perfect fit for English-readers who are ready to transition from Diary of a Wimpy Kid to less illustrated, but equally hilarious stories.

Click here to download Oneworld Publications and Rock the Boat’s forthcoming and backlist catalogs. 

Looking for new insight into global literature? The articles on Oneworld blog are an excellent resource. For more information about Oneworld and Rock the Boat authors, events, and new releases sign up for one (or all) of the three newsletters: academic titles, children’s and YA books, or adult fiction and nonfiction. Learn about the origins of Oneworld Publications by exploring their “About” page. A mission statement for Rock the Boat can be found here.

By Chelsey Slattum

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