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Oneworld Acquires Insider Account from Former BBC Newsnight’s Sam McAlister

Cecilia Stein bought UK and Commonwealth rights for Scoops: Behind the Scenes of the BBC’s Most Shocking Interviews from Sarah Ballard at United Agents. Further rights in the title will be handled by United Agents, and US rights through Eleanor Jackson at Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. The title will be published on 14th July 2022.

Among her other career successes, it was McAlister who clinched the 2019 interview with Prince Andrew and Emily Maitlis, in which he claimed to be unable to sweat. “She is many things besides: the first in her family to go to university; a trained barrister; a single mum; a master of persuasion,” the synopsis reads. “In her former BBC colleagues’ words, she was the ‘booker extraordinaire’, responsible for many of ‘Newsnight’’s exclusives over the past decade, including Stormy Daniels, Sean Spicer, Brigitte Hoss, Steven Seagal, Mel Greig and Julian Assange.”

McAlister has signed on to make a documentary with Aquitania Films about her experiences during negotiations for the Prince Andrew interview, executive-produced by James Goldston, the award-winning producer and former president of ABC News.

“It has been fascinating to understand the lengths a producer will go to for an exclusive with both public figures and extremely private individuals,” Stein said. “Sam was relentless in her pursuit of interviews that have shaped the news agenda and her stories are by turns inspiring, gripping and unforgettable.”

McAlister added: “Ever since the world tuned into Prince Andrew talking about Pizza Express, Woking and his inability to sweat, people have been coming to me with questions. I’m delighted to reveal the behind-the-scenes graft that goes into negotiating interviews like these, the amazing bravery of certain interviewees, and the strange life of a news producer.”

Scoops: Behind the Scenes of the BBC’s Most Shocking Interviews is published July 2022. 

Oneworld Signs Blurb Your Enthusiasm by Louise Willder

Oneworld has signed copywriter and Penguin Books blurb creator Louise Willder’s Blurb Your Enthusiasm: An A-Z of Literary Persuasion

Cecilia Stein, editorial director, acquired world all language rights from the author, with publication slated for September 2022.

Blurb Your Enthusiasm is about those humble 100-or-so words of jacket copy that take seconds to read but can make or break a book – and what they tell us about literary history, the craft of writing, authors from George Orwell to Zadie Smith, genres from children’s fiction to bonkbusters, cover design, the dark arts of persuasion and even who we are as readers,” the synopsis explains.

“You’ll learn to avoid describing that literary novel on your desk as ‘luminous’ and why a children’s edition of Pride and Prejudice pulls off the best strapline. Packed full of trade secrets, this is a guide for anyone who loves to read, think about and play with words.”

Willder has worked as a copywriter at Penguin Books for 25 years. During this time, she has produced blurbs for roughly 5,000 books.

‘‘Writing something longer than 100 words has been a novel and joyful experience,” she said. “I’m thrilled to share what I’ve learned about the art of literary persuasion over the years, and to impart a bit of publishing gossip on the way. I hope Blurb Your Enthusiasm will enlighten and delight readers – and maybe raise a few eyebrows in the trade too.”

Stein said: “With warmth, clarity and wit, Louise strikes at the heart of how words work. As publishers, we try to make connections between books and readers – and Louise is a secret weapon in this delicate endeavour. I have learned and laughed so much.”



Oneworld Launches Audio List

We are delighted to launch our new audio list, Oneworld Audio. 

Oneworld Audio will kick off with the bestselling YA novel Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao, adult fiction novel Beasts of a Little Land by Juhea Kim and the non-fiction title Trans by Helen Joyce, which was a Sunday Times top 10 bestseller when it came out in hardback in March this year.

“The plan is to keep the list very focused for the time being,” said Novin Doostdar, non-fiction publisher and co-founder of Oneworld. “Just six or seven titles a year. With the many successes we’ve been having over the last few years, it seemed like a natural progression to launch an audio list. I am very excited at the prospect.”


Oneworld Publisher Juliet Mabey Receives OBE for Services to Publishing

All of us at Oneworld are proud and delighted that our co-founder, Juliet Mabey, has received an OBE for Services to Publishing in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Juliet was awarded the OBE by Princess Anne at Windsor Casle in a ceremony that took place last week.

Juliet has enjoyed astonishing success during her time running Oneworld, a small Independent Publishing company that she started with her husband Novin Doostdar. As well as winning the Booker Prize two years running, and the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2019, Juliet has also been an active campaigner for diversity within the industry which can be seen by the support she has given to writers from all parts of the world. 

Juliet told The Bookseller: “It’s incredibly gratifying to realise that our efforts at Oneworld to build a truly global stable of authors with diverse voices and perspectives over the last three decades has been recognised in this way. But it’s important to remember that publishing is very much a team effort, and this honour goes also to Oneworld’s fantastic team and our brilliant authors.”


Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason wins The Royal Philharmonic Society Storyteller Award 2021

The Royal Philharmonic Society has chosen Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason as the winner of their Storyteller Award for her memoir House of Music: Raising the Kanneh-Masons

Kadie won the award at a ceremony last night, an evening that celebrated musical heroes who have inspired the nation through the pandemic. House of Music is a moving and inspirational account of determination, music and love. It is a story about race, immigration and education. It is the story of a mother and her family. And it is the story of her children, seven phenomenally talented musicians.

More info about the RPS Awards here.

‘Riveting, taking in prejudice as well as sacrifice. There are 4.30am starts, lost instruments, fractured wrists, all captured with vivid flourishes. A paean to camaraderie.’ Observer

 ‘Kadiatu Kanneh-Mason’s story offers a ray of sunshine.’ Financial Times Books of the Year


Q&A with Kathleen Glasgow, author of You’d Be Home Now

Kathleen Glasgow, bestselling author of Girl in Pieces, answers some burning questions about her new novel, You’d Be Home Now. 


  1. You’d Be Home Now is a story about the impact of addiction, but it’s told from the perspective of Emmy, the ‘good one’ in her family. Why did you choose to narrate the story from Emmy’s perspective rather than that of her addict brother Joey? Addiction affects the person struggling, but also spirals outward: to those in the family, school, neighbourhood. I’ve been on both sides of addiction: I’ve been the person struggling and I have worked to help friends and family. I wanted to focus on Emmy as the narrator to give voice to those who often feel voiceless in the face of addiction, especially a sibling, who might feel overshadowed by the emotional attention given to the person in crisis. That isn’t to say that we shouldn’t rightly focus attention on the person in crisis, but we also need to begin to understand what happens to the mental health of those in the orbit of addiction. They feel alone, invisible, as though their needs don’t matter. And then they feel guilty about that, much like Emmy does. Addiction really does a number on the mental health of those in its path; that’s collateral damage.


  2.  How did the experience of writing Emmy compare to writing Charlie in Girl in Pieces and Tiger in How to Make Friends with the Dark?Writing Emmy was, in some ways, more difficult than writing Charlie and Tiger! She’s coming from a place of extreme privilege. It’s hard to make a person of wealth sympathetic, because a reader might feel like, ‘She has all this money; her brother will be fine. The family can afford rehab and counsellors, etc.’ But in the end, that doesn’t help. Addiction doesn’t care about your postcode or your trust fund. It will consume whatever is in its path. And what’s in its path is what the book is about: the collateral damage of addiction, siblings like Emmy, overlooked, overwhelmed, exhausted, suffering and feeling guilty about that suffering. Like, who doesn’t want to help a family member struggling with addiction? You’d do anything for them, of course. But also…sometimes, at sixteen, you just want to go to a dance. Get kissed. Experience joy. But how can you allow yourself to feel even a tiny bit of happiness when your sibling’s life is literally on the line? Guilt is powerful and damaging. Writing Charlie and Tiger was easier, in a sense, because they are pure emotion. Emmy was different because she’s not even sure what her emotions should be; she’s been in the background to Joey (and Maddie) her whole life. She hasn’t really been allowed to figure out who she is, yet.


  3. You’d Be Home Now is a reimagining of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. What inspired you to do this and how did you go about it?Our Town is one of my very favourite plays, ever. The possibility of reimagining it was broached to me by my editor, and I said yes, enthusiastically. The one thing I knew going into the project was that I didn’t want Emmy to die, because in the play, Emily Webb dies.  The first thing I did was really think about the town of Grover’s Corners from the play. What would that town be like today? How would it have changed or not changed? I imagined it as a place somewhat frozen in time, still adhering to old ideals and unable to accept what’s tearing apart its fabric. And that would be the opioid crisis, which has devastated communities across the US. For me, the play has always been about what it means to be alive on this earth. Our connections, our hopes, our dreams. I like to think of this book not as a retelling of the play, or even a reimagining, but a repositioning, if that makes sense. I can’t top Thornton Wilder! But I do believe, absolutely, that if he were alive today and writing the play, the opioid crisis would be in Grover’s Corners. How could it not be? But it’s hard to write when Thornton Wilder is in the room, so at a certain point, I had to set myself free so that Emmy and Joey and Mill Haven could grow on their own. When writing this book, I thought about the ideas of the play as the framework for the story I want to tell about this girl, and this town. You’d Be Home Now is like a painting and Our Town is the frame in which it hangs.
  4. The book tackles the opioid crisis in the US, but its subject is also of personal significance to you. Why did you feel now was the right time to tell this story? And do you think your own experiences of addiction and recovery have influenced the narrative?As TikTok tells me, I write sad books! This is true. But I don’t write them just to write ‘sad books.’ I write books that are sad because the things in them are true. They happen beyond the pages of my books, to a hell of a lot of people. They have happened to me. They’ve happened to someone you know. They’ve happened to a lot of people you know. Addiction, recovery, depression and self-harm are parts of my life. They are the skin I live in. I own them as me. I write about these things because people should know about them and books can be a safe place to explore what you cannot express in real life, or don’t know how to. My own experiences will always influence the narratives I choose to construct because, well, I live with them on a daily basis. My characters are distinct from me in that their stories belong to them, but little bits of me make their way inside. For instance, in Girl in Pieces, Charlie has my scars, but her story isn’t mine. In You’d Be Home Now, I gave Joey my thoughts about addiction, but again, his story is his own.


  5. The words of Mis Educated give voice and power not just to Liza and Emmy but to the student body as a whole. Why did you feel this was important?I have to say that writing Mis_Educated’s Instagram posts were absolutely a balm to me when writing this book, as sad as they are. If you read the play Our Town, you’re familiar with the character of The Stage Manager, who knows everything about Grover’s Corners and the people in it, and often speaks directly to the reader/audience. I had to figure out how to reimagine that character for this book and that character ended up being Mis_Educated and their Instagram posts. One thing that I love about social media in particular is that it is absolutely used as an immediate public diary for people, especially teens. I used to have a diary with a little lock on it in which I wrote all the things I was too frightened to talk about. Now, social media posts act as a kind of instant diary, viewable immediately. Mis_Educated is anonymous and talks about the hypocrisy of Mill Haven, Heywood High School, the mental health of fellow students, all of it. And this was a great way for me to get other voices in the book, like the teens who respond to her posts with their own pain, their own stories. Those posts are their world, a place they can unload their pain without fear of reprisal from their family. They can be themselves.


  6. Emmy’s poetry reading gives her, quite literally, a moment in the spotlight. Do you see this as the moment she finds her voice? Was it important for you that she had this moment?It’s funny because Emmy’s poem was partly written by Liza, because Emmy had trouble articulating what she wanted to say. She’s never really been asked to speak up about her feelings before. She’s a big reader, she loves words and narrative and getting lost in someone else’s story but being asked to tell her own is terrifying. I did want her to have a moment, though, where she absolutely had to be in front of people and speaking her truth, standing up for herself. One of the central ideas in the book is that adults rarely see teens as they are; instead, they prefer to see them as they what they hope they’ll be: successful, happy, etc. But you know what? The kid in front of you, right now, this moment, is in pain and needs to you to acknowledge that. And accept it. And love them, in all their pain, without judgement. Emmy’s moment, I hope, elucidates that.


  7. You’d Be Home Now does a brilliant job of narrating complex and contradictory characters. Do you feel by the end of the novel that Emmy and Joey have a sense of who they are?I think that Emmy might have a better sense than Joey, at the end. I think she’s realised she needs to figure out boundaries. As Liza tells her, you can’t help someone unless you’re right with yourself first. This means knowing what you can and can’t do; what you will and won’t do, in order to keep yourself safe. Joey is in a kind of stasis at the end: back in rehab, unsure of what will happen. Unsure if he can live in the world. Joey has basically been addicted to drugs since he was twelve. He has no idea how to live without them. Who is he if he isn’t high? I love Joey with all my heart. He has a long road to walk. But he’s taking steps.


  8. In the process of researching your novel, were there any statistics or stories that made a particular impact on you or on the direction of the novel? I listened to a lot of podcasts about addiction and mental health and read blogs and stories by people in active recovery. I researched statistics about drug use and suicide rates. One thing that stuck out to me was the fact that chronic drug users often have their first experience very early, by age twelve. That helped me with Joey’s character quite a bit.
  9.  Who are the writers you most admire? And who has most influenced your writing? I know this book gets a lot of flak, and rightly so, because it’s very much a product of its time, but the first book I ever read where I saw myself was The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. My mother had kept her old copy and I read it when I was thirteen and I nearly disintegrated with a weird, sad joy. Here was a story about a kid who was suicidal, depressed, alone, feeling all the things I felt but didn’t know how to articulate. There’s always a book, especially when you’re young, that kind of blows you apart because it’s the first book in which you’ve seen a version of yourself, and thus, you absolutely know that what you feel is not weird or wrong. You just feel, for lack of a better word, validated. I will always love that book for what it gave me. I admire so many writers and have been influenced by the stories they tell and the way they tell them, like Laurie Halse Anderson. I started my writing life thinking I’d be a poet, so there are a lot of poets that influenced me stylistically and narratively, like Anne Sexton and Ai. I have a lot of go-to writers that I’ll absolutely read anything by, like Liane Moriarty, Gillian Flynn, Kara Thomas, Tiffany D. Jackson, Courtney Summers and Karen McManus.


  10.  What would be your greatest piece of advice to any Emmys or Joeys?I’m hesitant to give any advice because I, too, am a work in progress and that feels like the way it should be! But I think that I would say: you are you, brilliant and messy and beautiful and hurt and confused and a work in progress. Love yourself for that.


You’d Be Home Now is out now in paperback!

image of You'd Be Home Now paperback and quote ‘Kathleen Glasgow expands our hearts and invites in a little more humanity.’ Val Emmich, author of Dear Evan Hansen

The Last Stargazers Shortlisted for the Royal Society Science Book Prize 2021

The Last Stargazers: The Enduring Story of Astronomy’s Vanishing Explorers by Emily Levesque has been shortlisted for the Royal Society Science Book Prize 2021.

Chair of the 2021 judging panel, Professor Luke O’Neill FRS, Professor of Biochemistry in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology, Trinity College Dublin, comments:

“This year’s shortlist reflects more than ever the huge strength and diversity of topics evident in science writing. Every book is very accessible to all, and each in its own way is quite remarkable. The topics range from an account of what it’s like to be a woman in the field of astronomy (which also conveys the enduring fascination we have with the stars), why breathing optimally is so important for our health and well-being, the scientific basis of why we are so biased when it comes to our views, the related topic of fraud and bias in science, mystery illnesses and, finally, the fascinating world of fungi.

“Each is important and compelling, conveying the wonder of science but also highlighting issues that we should all be concerned about. Important, accessible science writing is certainly alive and well with this enthralling list of titles.”

This year’s shortlisted books were chosen from a record number of 267 submissions. The winner of the 2021 Royal Society Science Book Prize, sponsored by Insight Investment, will be revealed at a ceremony in London on 29 November. Find out more about the prize, and the other shortlisted titles here.

The Last Stargazers is out now in paperback. 


Oneworld Shortlisted for the Alison Morrison Diversity Award at the IPG Awards

Oneworld has been shortlisted for the Alison Morrison Diversity Award at the IPG Awards 2021.

Commenting on the lists this year, IPG c.e.o. Bridget Shine said: “It was an exceptionally challenging year for us all in 2020, so we are thrilled to be celebrating the outstanding success of so many superb independent publishers and people. They have all performed brilliantly during the pandemic, showing all the extraordinary resilience, flexibility and commercial success of our sector. After more than a year and a half of remote working and virtual events, it will be even more exciting than usual to celebrate IPG members’ successes in person in September.”

About Oneworld’s shortlisting, the judges said “Oneworld won this Award in 2017, and extended its track record of richly diverse publishing in 2020, backed up with excellent marketing, publicity and community outreach work. It continued partnerships with Spread the Word and Creative Access and audited its publishing and employment strategy. “Diversity’s in the DNA there… its publishing is truly global and you can see it’s thinking hard about the culture of the company as well,”.

The winners of all the awards will be revealed at a lunch on 21st September at the Oxo Tower Brasserie in London.

Find out more about the full shortlists at the IPG Awards here

Rock the Boat imprint signs new Anthony McGowan Middle Grade Novel

Rock the Boat has landed a “thrilling and heart-wrenching” new middle-grade novel from 2020 Carnegie award-winner Anthony McGowan.

Senior commissioning editor Katie Jennings bought world English-language rights, including audio, from Charlie Campbell at Charlie Campbell Literary Agents. Dogs of the Deadlands will publish as a superlead in hardback next September. The book will be followed by a further middle-grade standalone.


“Both an animal adventure and a human tale of love, tragedy and redemption, inspired by true events, Dogs of the Deadlands takes place in the aftermath of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster and tells the story of the dogs left behind when the humans fled. Gradually, nature begins to return to the woods surrounding the nuclear power plant, but the re-wilded forest, with its lynx and bears and wolves, is no place for dogs. What will Zoya, and her pups Misha and Bratan, need to do to survive the deadlands?”

Jennings said: “As soon as I read Dogs of the Deadlands, it felt like an instant classic: a book to capture the imagination of children in much the same way as Watership Down and The Call of the Wild. The book has everything you could want from a wilderness adventure—danger and excitement, tragedy and bloodshed, and a vividly detailed, near apocalyptic setting. But alongside the drama runs a powerful undercurrent of humour, heart and hope.”

McGowan, who won the CILIP Carnegie Medal in 2020 with Lark (Barrington Stoke), added: “Dogs of the Deadlands is the book I’ve been waiting all my life to write. As a young reader I was obsessed with animal adventure stories, from The Call of the Wild to Tarka the Otter and Watership Down, and this is my attempt to live up to those classics. It’s a book that I’ve striven to fill with excitement, danger, sadness and joy, but also one that tries to tell the truth about the natural world. I’m thrilled to be publishing it with Rock the Boat.”


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