Young readers' edition for Jared Diamond

Young readers' edition for Jared Diamond

Oneworld is publishing a young readers edition of The Third Chimpanzee by Pulitzer Prize-winner Jared Diamond (September, £12.99).

Diamond, a professor of geography at the University of California, Los Angeles, and a MacArthur Fellow, published The Third Chimpanzee in 1991 to critical and commercial success. In the Nielsen BookScan (US) era, the book has sold 151,730 copies across three different editions.

Juliet Mabey, editorial director at Oneworld, described it as: “A broad-ranging study of human evolution and its relevance to the modern world, drawing on evidence from genetics, evolutionary biology, anthropology, linguistics, and ecology.” The Third Chimpanzee explores the current threat of nuclear weapons and climate change in light of the human tendencies towards violence and invention.

Independent New York publisher Seven Stories commissioned the young readers edition, which Oneworld then acquired for publication in the UK. Seven Stories has published a series of books of big ideas for young adults in the US, and Oneworld is currently in talks about buying more titles for the British market, although nothing further has been acquired as yet.

Oneworld is also developing plans for commissioning similar young reader titles from British authors. Mabey explained: “We had been looking for a way to make big ideas accessible to younger readers for a long time. We think it is very important. Over the years, a number of parents have complained that their teenagers don’t have access to a lot of the ideas and issues that they are reading about.”

The book has been adapted by author Rebecca Stefoff, who has previously adapted non-fiction history and science titles for a younger audience. Mabey said: “Her focus was on simplifying the language, and adapting some of the information into boxed, illustrated sections that a younger audience would find more accessible. Professor Diamond was involved at every stage.”

Talking about Oneworld’s hopes for the book being used in schools, Mabey said: “There is greater focus on evolution in the school curriculum now, so we hope this book will prove to be a very interesting way into the subject. We will be marketing it to independent suppliers, to schools and libraries, and to book wholesalers specialising in the schools market, as well as direct to schools and school librarians at educational conferences and through the educational media.”