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Rock the Boat signs Middle Grade Debut from Xiran Jay Zhao

11th May, 2022

Rock the Boat has secured Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor, an action packed middle-grade fantasy novel from Xiran Jay Zhao.  

Commissioning editor Katie Jennings acquired UK and British Commonwealth English language rights, excluding Canada, from Stephanie Voros at Simon & Schuster US. It will be published in July 2022.  

Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor is a hilarious  middle-grade debut, blending Chinese history with modern gaming technology in a fun, fast-paced read. 

As the UK publishers of #1 bestseller Iron Widow we were already massive fans of Xiran’s writing here at Rock the Boat and their MG debut blew us away,” Jennings said. “Xiran tackles a range of social issues as our Chinese Muslim protagonist learns about his cultural heritage while also trying to save the world. A chaotic (in the best way!) mash-up of cutting-edge tech, Chinese history and myth, with some killer one-liners to boot, this is the blockbuster fantasy we’ve all been waiting for.” 

Zhao commented: “Rock the Boat has been such an amazing and supportive home for my debut novel Iron Widow, and I could not be happier to be working with them on Zachary Ying as well!” 


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