Saturday 16 January 2016

Make Mine an Indie: Oneworld


Today's publisher for Make Mine an Indie I discovered not through my usual trawling of the internet, but through actual browsing in an actual bookshop. I was in Waterstone's a few weeks back and as per my resolution, since it's not an independent I was looking for a book published by an independent. Off the top of my head, of course, I couldn't remember the titles of anything I'd been intrigued by before in this series, so I was just picking stuff up at random and came across The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly by Sun-Mi Hwang which as well as having a beautiful cover and a Korean author (hello diversity) was also published by an independent. Obviously I bought it, and then I did a little digging about the publisher. 

Image result for oneworld publishing
Oneworld was founded in 1986 and originally focused on publishing non-fiction. Nowadays they publish a wide range of stuff and have two imprints; Rock the Boat for children's and young adult fiction, and Point Blank which specialises in crime and is launching in spring of this year. They have a commitment to great writing and editorial excellence and their fiction aims to introduce readers to different cultures or historical periods or events. I'm shocked I'd not heard of them before, and it just shows how little attention I've been paying to who publishes my books because I got My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem as part of the Nonfiction Book Swap, which is published by them and didn't even notice!

Oneworld are responsible for publishing the UK editions of the 2015 Man Booker Prize Winner, A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James, in the course of which I am reliably assured that more than seven people die. They also published Bailey's Prize Longlisted Reasons She Goes to the Woods by Deborah Kay Davies and Scotiabank Giller Prize Longlisted (in good company with the amazing - not published by Oneworld - If I Fall, if I Die by Michael Christie) The Orenda by Joseph Boyden. I haven't read either of these but they are both on my TBR so it was exciting to learn who's getting them into my hands!

With that in mind, obviously the books that I'm interested in reading from this publisher immediately include The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly and My Life on the Road, but besides those two here are a few which have immediately caught my eye:

Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish

From the Oneworld website:

In post-9/11 New York, Zou Lei is an illegal immigrant from northwest China. A Muslim with a Uighur mother and a Han soldier for a father, she’s a pariah even within the Chinese community. Forced to work fourteen-hour days and live in squalor, she nevertheless embraces the many freedoms her adopted homeland has to offer.
Damaged by three tours in Iraq, veteran Brad Skinner comes to New York with the sole intention of partying as hard as he can in order to forget what he’s seen. Impulsive and angry, Skinner’s re-entry into civilian life seems doomed. But when he meets Zou Lei they discover that new beginnings may be possible for both of them, that is if they can survive homelessness, lockup and Skinner’s post-traumatic stress disorder.
Set in the underbelly of New York, Preparation for the Next Life exposes an America as seen from the fringes of society in devastating detail and destroys the myth of the American Dream through two of the most remarkable characters in contemporary fiction. Powerful, realistic and raw, this is one of the most ambitious – and necessary – chronicles of our time.

Among the Ten Thousand Things by Julia Pierpont
From the Oneworld website:
Jack Shanley is a well-known New York artist, charming and vain, who doesn’t mean to plunge his family into crisis. His wife, Deb, gladly left behind a difficult career as a dancer to raise the two children she adores. In the ensuing years, she has mostly avoided coming face-to-face with the weaknesses of the man she married. But then an anonymously sent package arrives in the mail: a cardboard box containing sheaves of printed emails chronicling Jack’s secret life. The package is addressed to Deb, but it’s delivered into the wrong hands: her children’s.
With this vertiginous opening begins a debut that is by turns funny, wise, and indescribably moving. As the Shanleys spin apart into separate orbits, leaving New York in an attempt to regain their bearings, fifteen-year-old Simon feels the allure of adult freedoms for the first time, while eleven-year-old Kay wanders precariously into a grown-up world she can’t possibly understand. Writing with extraordinary precision, humour, and beauty, Julia Pierpont has crafted a timeless, hugely enjoyable novel about the bonds of family life – their brittleness, and their resilience.
French Concession by Xiao Bai
From the Oneworld website:
A boat arrives in Shanghai harbor to the raucous sound of firecrackers. An important official in the Nationalist Party has returned from Hong Kong, accompanied by his striking wife, Leng. An assassin suddenly appears, firing three bullets before killing himself. Leng disappears in the ensuing chaos.
Hseuh, a Franco-Chinese photographer, is captivated by Leng’s beauty. But he has his own problems: he suspects that his White Russian lover, Therese, is cheating. When Hseuh is arrested in the French Concession and forced to become a police spy, he realizes that in the seamy, devious world of Shanghai, no one is who they appear. Therese is secretly an arms dealer, supplying Shanghai’s gangs, while Leng, has her own ties to a menacing new gang, one led by a charismatic Communist whose acts of  terrorism could have a devastating impact on the entire country. Soon Hseuh is forced to play both sides, spinning his own lies in a feverish struggle to stay alive.
Unfinished Busines: Men Women Work Family by Anne-Marie Slaughter
From the Oneworld website:
When Anne-Marie Slaughter's Atlantic article,"Why Women Still Can't Have it All"first appeared, it immediately went viral, sparking a firestorm of debate across countries and continents. Within four days, it had become the most-read article in the history of the magazine. In the following months, Slaughter became a leading voice in the discussion on work-life balance and on women's changing role in the workplace.
Now, Slaughter is here with her eagerly anticipated take on the problems we still face, and how we can finally get past them. In her pragmatic, down-to-earth style, Slaughter bursts the bubble on all the"half-truths"we tell young women about"having it all", and explains what is really necessary to get true gender equality, both in the workplace and at home. Deeply researched, and filled with all the warm, wise and funny anecdotes that first made her the most trusted and admired voice on the issue, Anne-Marie Slaughter's book is sure to change minds, ignite debate and be the topic of conversation.
The Prison Book Club by Ann Walmsley
From the Oneworld website:
After Ann Walmsley was mugged near her house in Hampstead, she found she was unable to walk alone down the street and it shook her belief in the fundamental goodness of people. In Canada a few years later, when her friend Carol asked her to participate in a bold new venture in a men’s medium security prison, Ann had to weigh her curiosity and desire to be of service with her anxiety and fear.
But she signed up and for eighteen months went to a remote building a few hours outside of Toronto, meeting a group of heavily tattooed book club members without the presence of guards or security cameras. There was no wine and cheese, plush furnishings, or superficial chat about jobs or recent vacations. But a book club on the inside proved to be a place to share ideas, learn about each other, and regain humanity. 
For the men, the books were rare prized possessions, and the meetings were an oasis of safety and a respite from isolation in an otherwise hostile environment. Having been judged themselves, they were quick to make judgments about the books they read. As they discussed the obstacles the characters faced, they revealed glimpses of their own struggles that were devastating and comic. From The Grapes of Wrath to The Cellist of Sarajevo, and Outliers to Infidel, the book discussions became a springboard for frank conversations about loss, anger, redemption, heroism and loneliness.

I'm sticking to four as usual for this, but I urge you to go and look through their catalogue as it's full of wonderful sounding and intriguing titles!
You can find Oneworld on their website, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Catch up with the entire Make Mine an Indie series here, my indie resolution here, and if you're in need of inspiration, my mostly indie wishlist here. Follow along on twitter #MakeMineanIndie. 

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