Skip to main content

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.


Rock the Boat signs Chinese-inspired YA SF, Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

Oneworld’s Rock the Boat imprint signs Chinese-inspired YA SF, Iron Widow, in five-figure deal at auction.

Rock the Boat has acquired UK and British Commonwealth English Language rights, to a “wildly original and inclusive” YA debut, Iron Widow, by Xiran Jay Zhao.

Senior Commissioning Editor Katie Jennings bought the rights in what will be a duology, in a five-figure deal at auction, from Adrienne Tang at Penguin Random House Canada. Peter Phillips at Penguin Teen Canada is the originating editor. Pitched as “The Handmaid’s Tale meets Pacific Rim”, mecha science fiction and East Asian myth collide in this dazzling retelling of the rise of Wu Zetian, the only female emperor in Chinese history.

The boys of Huaxia dream of the celebrity status that comes with piloting Chrysalises – giant transforming robots that battle the aliens beyond the Great Wall. No one cares that their female co-pilots must serve as concubines and sacrifice their lives. When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, her plan is to assassinate the man responsible for her sister’s death. But on miraculously emerging from the cockpit unscathed after her first battle, she has a new plan. The time has come to overturn the entire patriarchal military system.

Katie Jennings said: “Sometimes a book comes along on submission that blows your mind. This was that book. A fiercely feminist protagonist out for revenge, an utterly unforgettable queer love triangle, thrilling battles and a killer twist ending that left me desperate to get my hands on the sequel. To say that I just can’t wait to bring Zetian’s story to UK readers is an understatement!”

Xiran Jay Zhao said: “I’m so stoked to be reaching UK readers with Rock the Boat! Their enthusiasm was off the charts from the get-go, and I have no doubt that they will be fierce champions of Iron Widow.”

Xiran Jay Zhao is a first-gen immigrant from small-town China who was raised by the Internet. A recent graduate of Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University, they wrote science fiction and fantasy while they probably should have been studying more about biochemical pathways. You can find them on Twitter @XiranJayZhao for memes, Instagram as xiranjayzhao for cosplays and fancy outfits, and YouTube as Xiran Jay Zhao for long videos about Chinese history and culture. Iron Widow is their first novel.

Rock the Boat will publish Iron Widow in hardback on 7 October 2021, with a sequel to follow.

Oneworld Signs New Book from Lemony Snicket

Oneworld’s Rock the Boat imprint has acquired UK and British Commonwealth rights, excluding Canada, with serial and audio rights, to the latest novel from internationally renowned author of A Series of Unfortunate Events, Lemony Snicket.

Oneworld’s Rock the Boat will publish Poison for Breakfast in hardback on 2 September this year.

Poison for Breakfast is a standalone novel for all ages by one of the twenty-first century’s most beloved authors, and will be illustrated by acclaimed artist Margaux Kent.

This true story – as true as Lemony Snicket himself – begins with a puzzling note under his door: You had poison for breakfast. And with that, one of the most famous narrators in contemporary middle-grade fiction (and chronicler of other people’s mysteries) finds himself in a race against the clock to solve the mystery of his own demise. Along the way, he takes readers on a delightful journey of philosophy, literature, art, love, life, death and other “bewildering” subjects.

Publisher Juliet Mabey said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to be publishing this extraordinary and profoundly moving novel from Lemony Snicket, an author whose playful, always thoughtful and distinctive voice we joyously introduced to our own children, and now have the joy of introducing to a brand new readership.

“It is a classic-in-the-making, very much in the great tradition of modern fables like The Little Prince and The Phantom Tollbooth, penned as both a love letter to readers and reading, and a meditation on the vagaries of life. I’m confident that it will stir the hearts of young and old alike, both long-time fans and new readers.”

Lemony Snicket said: “For far too long my work has bewildered, perplexed and upset readers all over the one world we live in. Oneworld’s decision to publish Poison for Breakfast indicates they are either very brave, very foolish, or as bewildered, perplexed and upset as everyone else.”

Snicket is the author of the thirteen volumes in A Series of Unfortunate Events; several picture books, including The Dark and The Bad Mood and the Stick, and the books collectively titled All the Wrong Questions. His work has sold between 70 and 80 million copies worldwide.

Oneworld is honoured to have been named IPG Trade Publisher of the Year


The Independent Publishers Guild is delighted to announce the 13 winners of the 2016 IPG Independent Publishing Awards. They are:

  • Fox Williams Independent Publisher of the Year NOSY CROW
  • Ruth Killick Publicity Trade Publisher of the Year ONEWORLD
  • IPG Children’s Publisher of the Year NOSY CROW
  • Frankfurt Book Fair Academic & Professional Publisher of the Year POLICY PRESS
  • Publishers Licensing Society Education Publisher of the Year PG ONLINE
  • IPG Specialist Consumer Publisher of the Year HOW2BECOME
  • Nick Robinson Newcomer Award MEZE PUBLISHING
  • The Bookseller International Achievement Award PAVILION BOOKS
  • Ingram Content Group Digital Publishing Award FABER & FABER
  • Nielsen Digital Marketing Award HOW2BECOME
  • Alison Morrison Diversity Award BARRINGTON STOKE
  • IPG Young Independent Publisher of the Year SAM RICHARDSON, SPCK
  • GBS Services to Independent Publishers Award GRAHAM BELL, EDItEUR

Among the Ten Thousand Things by Julia Pierpont is long listed for the Dylan Thomas Prize


A longlist of 12 books has today (20 January) been announced for the prestigious International Dylan Thomas Prize, sponsored by Swansea University.

The list includes works by four American authors, a Nigerian novelist, Manchester-based poet Andrew McMillan, Irish author Lisa McInerney, and Welsh short story writer, Thomas Morris.

Now in its tenth year, the £30,000 Prize is awarded to the best eligible published literary work in English, written by an author aged 39 or under. It is the largest literary prize in the world for young writers, aimed at encouraging creative talent worldwide. It celebrates and nurtures international literary excellence across all genres, and is open to poetry, novels, short stories and drama.

Dylan Thomas, the quintessential adolescent writer, was ideally suited to serve as an inspiration to young writers everywhere. The freshness and immediacy of his writing were qualities that he never lost. The Prize seeks to ensure that readers today will have the chance to savour the vitality and sparkle of a new generation of young writers.

Julia Pierpont

Julia Pierpont is a graduate of the NYU Creative Writing Program, where she received the Rona Jaffe Foundation Graduate Fellowship, as well as the Stein Fellowship. Born and raised in Manhattan, she works at The New Yorker.

Request authors for events

Are you a teacher, librarian or bookseller, and keen to have one of our authors appear at an event, or just want to know more about our books? Use this form to get in touch with us, and one of our team will respond as soon as possible.