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The Rabbit Hutch Shorlisted for the Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize

The Rabbit Hutch by Tess Gunty has been selected for the shortlist for the inaugural Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize, an award for exceptional first novels, voted for by our booksellers. Celebrating debut fiction in all its forms, the prize highlights the importance of discovering and championing new talent and acts as an extension of the alchemy of bookseller word-of-mouth recommendation.

The £5,000 award is voted for by Waterstones booksellers. A winner is announced at an evening ceremony on 25th August and will receive the backing of all Waterstones shops and the retailer’s website.

Waterstones said The Rabbit Hutch ‘deals with the care system, urbanisation, poverty, and gentrification but mainly, it’s a book about one girl’s coming of age with the odds stacked against her and finding family and community in the unlikeliest of places. Booksellers were blown away.’

Matt from said ‘I haven’t read anything like The Rabbit Hutch in a very long time, and I was completely gripped after the first page and a half. It is bold, inventive, disturbing and would make a deserving winner among a truly exceptional shortlist. I have very high hopes for this book and Tess Gunty.’

Bea Carvalho, Waterstones head of fiction, commented: “For the Waterstones Debut Fiction Prize’s inaugural year our booksellers have chosen an extraordinary shortlist of bold and original new voices. The exceptional quality of submissions signifies a bright and exciting future for fiction, and our six finalists represent the dazzling scope of storytelling talent amongst this new generation of novelists.’


The Rabbit Hutch is out now in hardback. 

Oneworld acquires debut story collection by 2020 BBC Young Writer of the Year

Oneworld has landed a “dark, fairytale-esque flavour” short story collection by Lottie Mills, the 2020 BBC Young Writer of the Year, with an option on her debut novel.

As reported in the BooksellerJuliet Mabey, publisher at Oneworld, acquired world English rights, including serial and audio rights, from David Godwin at David Godwin Associates to Monstrum, which will publish as a superlead hardback in early 2024.

“Lottie is a precocious talent – a mere 16 when first shortlisted for the BBC Young Writer Award in 2018 – and I was completely blown away by the maturity of these superb stories,” Mabey commented. “Their strange, dark, fairytale-esque flavour reminded me a lot of other brilliant Oneworld short-story writers such as the Booker-shortlisted authors Diane Cook and Samanta Schweblin. Her writing is original and poignant and challenges us to look beyond our own boundaries and life experiences. We are absolutely thrilled and feel very privileged to be introducing Lottie’s work to readers around the world.”

Currently in her final year at Cambridge, Mills has cerebral palsy, and several of the stories grew out of her frustration with how difference, especially disability, is represented in fiction. “Her own disability informs many of these powerful stories about physicality, exclusion and belonging,” the synopsis read. “Sitting on the fringes of society, some of the characters are excluded, others viewed with suspicion, but each story draws in different ways on Lottie’s own experiences in a highly creative, evocative way.

The collection includes the BBC Young Writer Award-winning story ‘The Changeling’.

Mills is a final year English Literature student at Newnham College, Cambridge. She was shortlisted for the BBC Young Writers’ Award in 2018 when only 16, and went on to win two years later.

“I’m absolutely delighted to be working with Juliet and the whole team at Oneworld,” Mills said. “They have shown such a rich understanding of my vision for Monstrum, and I can’t wait to embark on my debut with them. As a disabled person, I have so often been frustrated with how outsiderhood, and especially disability, has been misrepresented in fiction. I hope that my collection will subvert these ingrained narratives, and serve as a celebration of difference.”

Godwin noted: “I am thrilled that Lottie is to be published by Juliet at Oneworld. Lottie has the most thrilling talent and this is going to be an exceptional debut.”

Read more about Lottie in this Cambridge News article: ‘I was told I couldn’t go to Cambridge because of my disability – but I’m leaving with a first and a book deal’

Two Oneworld Titles on the Big Jubilee Read Booklist

Both The Book of Night Women by Marlon James and How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee have been selected for the Big Jubilee Read Booklist.

The Big Jubilee Read is a reading for pleasure campaign celebrating great reads from across the Commonwealth to coincide with Her Majesty The Queen’s Jubilee. An expert panel of librarians, booksellers and literature specialists has chosen seventy titles from a “readers’ choice” longlist with ten books for each decade of Her Majesty The Queen’s reign. The list offers brilliant, beautiful and thrilling writing produced by authors from a wide range of Commonwealth countries over the last seventy years to engage all readers in the discovery and celebration of great books.

The Big Jubilee Read campaign will be delivered in partnership with BBC Arts and The Reading Agency. It received funding from Arts Council England and is supported by Libraries Connected and the Booksellers Association.

70 titles have been selected for the reading list, one for each year of the reign of Elizabeth I. The Book of Night Women represents 2009, while How We Disappeared covers 2019.


Find out more about the Big Jubilee Read and the other titles on the reading list here.


The Khan is Waterstones Thriller of the Month

The Khan by Saima Mir has been selected as Waterstones Thriller of the Month for May.

Waterstones said that ‘The Khan is a gripping and multifaceted crime thriller that explores the meaning of community and justice with breathtaking dexterity.’

The Khan was called ‘bold, addictive and brilliant’ by Stylist, and ‘a fascinating glimpse into a world rarely portrayed in fiction.’ by the Guardian. 

To find out more about the other Books of the Month for May, click here.




Build Your House Around My Body Longlisted for the Women’s Prize 2022

Build Your House Around My Body by Violet Kupersmith has been longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2022.

Two young Vietnamese women go missing decades apart. Both are fearless, both are lost. And both will have their revenge.

1986: The teenage daughter of a wealthy Vietnamese family gets lost in an abandoned rubber plantation while fleeing her angry father, and is forever changed by the experience.

2011: Twenty-five years later, a young, unhappy Vietnamese-American disappears from her new home in Saigon without a trace.

The fates of both women are inescapably linked, bound together by past generations, by ghosts and ancestors, by the history of possessed bodies and possessed lands. Violet Kupersmith’s heart-pounding fever dream of a novel hurtles through the ghostly secrets of Vietnamese history to create an immersive, playful, utterly unforgettable debut.

The 16 books on the longlist will be whittled down to a shorlist of 6, announced on 27th April.

Find out more about the Women’s Prize and the other longlisted titles here.

Rock the Boat Shortlisted for the British Book Awards and IPG Awards

Rock the Boat Shortlisted for Imprint of the Year at the British Book Awards, and Children’s Publisher of the Year at the IPG Awards.

The British Book Awards, aka The Nibbies, represent the absolute best of the book trade. Rock the Boat has been shortlisted alongside seven other imprints in the category Imprint of the Year.

The judges said “Rock the Boat is the sole children’s imprint on this shortlist. Six years on from launch, it is a major contributor to Oneworld Publications. TikTok-propelled title Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow, issued by the imprint, was the publisher’s biggest book overall last year. Its commissioning was ambitious and diverse, with marginalised voices and translations to the fore.”

The winner, alongisde winners of the other Trade award categories, will be announced at the British Book Awards ceremony on the 23rd May. Find out more here.

The Independent Publishing Awards shortlists recognise the success of the indie sector. Rock the Boat has been shortlisted for Children’s Publisher of the Year. The judges said ‘Oneworldis shortlisted for its Rock the Boat imprint, which has made a big splash in Young Adult publishing and had its best year yet in 2021. Judges liked its bold publishing of diverse books from around the world and the excellent marketing and publicity of its small team, including via TikTok.’

Find out more about the IPG Awards here.


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 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. 

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


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. 


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