April 26, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Oneworld to Launch U.S. YA Imprint in July

Rock-the-Boat logoThe UK publisher Oneworld Publications will officially launch its young adult and children’s imprint, Rock the Boat, on June 2 in the UK and July 14 in the United States. The division will feature fiction and narrative nonfiction highlighting “social issues, moral dilemmas or journeys of discovery at their heart,” according to the publisher’s website. Publishing around 15 titles a year, for readers from birth to 19, Oneworld will focus on translating into English the works of outstanding authors from around the world.

Sarah Odedina, a UK editor with 27 years in the publishing industry who oversaw the publication of J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series at Bloomsbury’s Children’s Books, has been tapped as publisher of the new imprint. She has worked with other children’s literature luminaries, including Sally Gardner, Neil Gaiman, Louis Sachar, and Jennifer Donnelly.

“I am so excited to be working with the wonderful team at Oneworld,” Odedina said in a press release. “Their publishing is innovative, literary and thought provoking and offers a voice to truly original authors from around the world. I look forward to reflecting those core values in the list for young readers by publishing books that will help grow reader’s love of books and enjoyment of stories.”

Oneworld was founded in 1986 by husband-and-wife team Juliet Mabey and Novin Doostdar as an independent publishing house concentrating on stimulating nonfiction. “We have been looking for just the right person to head up our new children’s list since we first announced our intentions back in October, and are absolutely thrilled to welcome Sarah Odedina,” Mabey said via email. “She is a very talented and passionate publisher with great taste. Appointing someone with her experience and clout signals our big ambitions for this list—to bring the very best authors and projects from around the world to young readers.”

Rossland_Minus MeThe publisher’s first U.S. title, written for a middle school audience and releasing in July, is Minus Me by Norwegian best-selling YA author Ingelin Røssland. The story centers on on a young teen with a fatal heart condition and explores questions about love and death.

Oneworld releases about 100 books every year. “Our adult fiction list focuses on beautifully written novels showcasing emotionally engaging stories, strong narratives and original voices, with a particular emphasis on literary novels that explore other cultures and thought-provoking issues,” shared Mabey.

While books for young readers have been published in the past by Oneworld in the UK, including an illustrated version of Richard Adams’s Watership Down last year, this will be the first official effort by the publisher to establish a YA and children’s line. “A chance conversation at a literary event convinced me we should broaden our commissioning to include the children and YA market, where novels sporting these qualities would be very welcome, and the seeds for Rock the Boat were sown,” said Mabey.

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Shelley Diaz About Shelley Diaz

Shelley M. Diaz (sdiaz@mediasourceinc.com) is School Library Journal's Reviews Team Manager and SLJTeen newsletter editor. She has her MLIS in Public Librarianship with a Certificate in Children’s & YA Services from Queens College, and can be found on Twitter @sdiaz101.