We have our own Handheld Press YouTube channel, where you can watch interview clips about all our books, and readings from the books by the translators or the authors of the introductions. All the videos are linked from each book’s own page.
Jeremy Hawthorn, who’s been championing Ernest Bramah for years, reads here from our edition of What Might Have Been, for which he wrote the Introduction.
Here’s Juliane Roemhild, who wrote the Introduction to Elizabeth von Arnim’s The Caravaners, reading the bit from the novel where Otto explains why he’s not going to show his write-up of their holiday to his wife any longer.
Listen to audio clips by our Handheld Modern author Nicola Griffith. Here she reads the opening pages of So Lucky, and here she reads an extract from later in the novel when Mara finds a way to vent her rage.
Biographies of our authors
We’ve collected pocket biographies of our authors in pdf format: download them here.
for Blitz Writing: Inez Holden biography
for What Not: Rose Macaulay biography
for Adrift in the Midle Kingdom: Slauerhoff biography
for The Caravaners: von Arnim biography
for Kingdoms of Elfin, Of Cats and Elfins, and The Akeing Heart: Warner biography
for Save Me The Waltz: Zelda Fitzgerald biography
All links to our reviews are posted on each book’s page: we have a LOT. Here are some of the highlights.
Ernest Bramah, What Might Have Been (1907)
‘smaller presses are also to be thanked for turning their attention to largely forgotten, more middlebrow authors such as Ernest Bramah, and doing us all a favour in the process …Bramah offers the vision of a left-wing state gone horribly wrong … this book was almost certainly on Orwell’s mind when he wrote Nineteen Eighty-Four‘, Times Literary Supplement, 24 November 2017
John Buchan, The Runagates Club (1928)
‘Buchan’s stories are entertaining enough for those fond of tales of horror and excitement with a gentleman narrator’, Times Literary Supplement, 6 July 2018
Zelda Fitzgerald, Save Me the Waltz (1932)
‘The Fitzgeralds seemed to be incapable of even attending a party without leaving written traces of the occasion. Scholars have had a lot of material to rifle through while attempting to decide who copied whom and how much Scott discouraged his wife … for those wondering what Zelda did do, Handheld Press have reprinted Save Me The Waltz, her only completed novel, in a nice scholarly edition … Zelda excels at descriptions of places, witty phrases and bon mots; conversation is lively and loud, and some of the book’s best passages have the pull and snap of screwball comedy’, 18 April 2019, The London Review of Books
‘Templeton’s introduction to the current reprint illuminates the novel by providing an overview of the Fitzgeralds’ lives together and the period during which the novel was written … The novel draws heavily on autobiographical details including the broad strokes of many of the problems that contributed to her mental breakdown in 1930—a dysfunctional marriage, incipient alcoholism, exhausting ballet practice … There has always been a sense that there is a story about Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald that has not yet been told and deserves to be’, 11 April 2019, Modernism/modernity
Read the articles about how Handheld came to republish Save Me the Waltz. Handheld Press interview Fitzgerald_News_2019
Nicola Griffith, So Lucky (2018)
‘A terse and brutally urgent novel, So Lucky is a reminder that Griffith is one of the most important writers working today.’ DIVA magazine named So Lucky their Book of the Month for December 2018
‘A compact, brutal story of losing power and creating community … So Lucky is beautifully written, with a flexible, efficient precision that embodies the protagonist’s voice and character.’ New York Times Book Review
‘A psychological thriller, effective and chilling … A disconcerting but very necessary book.’ ― Dana Hansen, Chicago Review of Books
‘A short, fast-paced whirlwind of a novel … Spine tingling and in places downright terrifying.’ ― Independent
‘With great insight and power, Griffith chronicles one woman’s fight … the plot twists into a sophisticated thriller.’ ― Jane Ciabattari, BBC Culture
Inez Holden, Blitz Writing: Night Shift & It Was Different At the Time (1941 & 1943)
‘A number of years ago, the Furrowed Middlebrow blog mentioned a book that sounded like just my thing: Inez Holden’s Night Shift. A short documentary-style novel about the lives of workers in a Blitz-threatened factory over the course of a week? Sign me up! Unfortunately there was not a single copy for sale online anywhere in the world, not even for ludicrous sums of cash. Every now and then I’d have another look, and every time there would be nothing. Now Handheld have republished Night Shift, along with Holden’s It Was Different at the Time, her diaries of 1938-1941. It’s available! It’s affordable! It’s mine! And it was worth the wait.’ Caustic Cover Critic
‘Whether her dialogue is invented or recorded — probably a mix of both — Holden was expert at capturing a whole person in their words. Whether it’s a long recollection by Mabs, one of the factory workers in Night Shift that’s almost a one-act play about battling Romeos, or just a line or two, Holden’s gift for exposition via dialogue is exceptional.’ The Neglected Books Page
Peter Haring Judd, The Akeing Heart. Letters between Sylvia Townsend Warner, Valentine Ackland and Elizabeth Wade White (2013)
‘Peter Haring Judd has curated the most thrilling, romantic and heartbreaking accounts of a major 20th century literary love story. Covering the period of the Spanish Civil War and the Second World War, in 1930s New York and Connecticut and in 1950s Dorset, this is an intense and beautifully written exploration of two decades in the lives of four women.’ DIVA magazine, 23 April 2018
Rose Macaulay What Not (1918)
‘What Not is barely mentioned in biographical writing about Macaulay, said Kate Macdonald at Handheld, “probably because it wasn’t much noticed at the time, due to its withdrawal and lack of advertising on its reissue. The plot’s themes and subject matter were also challenging, not anything like as accessible … as they are now”’ The Guardian (10 December 2018),
‘The book is a protest against social control, but a love story at heart. As Kitty and Nicholas’s love grows like an “embryo”, Macaulay emphasises its naturalness: “their relationship burgeoned like flowers in spring”. Her writing is stirring, funny, uniquely imaginative. This book should not be forgotten again’, The Guardian (28 March 2019),
‘published towards the beginning of one of her more fruitful periods, What Not is a forgotten gem in a prolific career’, The Times 13 April 2019
Margaret Drabble reviewed What Not in the Times Literary Supplement: ‘It is a more sombre work [than Brave New World], with a sense of end-of-war fatigue that has more in common with the mood of Orwell … full of interesting sociological and historical observations, about the status of women newly enrolled in government employment by the war machine (Macaulay herself had worked in the Ministry of Information, as had Wells and Arnold Bennett) and about minor points of etiquette, such as whether “you can suitably go to church with a dog in your muff”.’ 7 June 2019
Gerald O’Donovan, Vocations (1922)
‘O’Donovan left the priesthood due to strained relations with his conservative and philistine bishop. His alienation from the church was accelerated by the encyclical letter of 1907 Pascendi dominici gregis, a condemnation of the errors of Modernism. In the story of the Curtin sisters, he indicts late Victorian Catholic values, warped by the privileging of religious vocations over marriage. He is scathing about the waste of youthful potential, especially of women, and realistic about how the pursuit of personal autonomy carries a high price.’ The Dublin Review of Books, November 2018
Eddie Thomas Petersen, After the Death of Ellen Keldberg (2013), translated by Toby Bainton
‘The author’s professional experience as a filmmaker finds its way into the excellent atmospheric portrait of the place and the people who inhabit it … Petersen has created an interesting and surprising tale, with touches of macabre humour. It’s a slow-burner of a murder mystery that lingers in the reader’s mind for a long time, as much as blood on snow and the smell of freshly caught fish. Snow and darkness hide old painful secrets and new alliances promise the solving of mysteries and resolving of painful personal issues. Don’t expect fireworks and you will enjoy this subtle analysis of family relations.’ Crime Review.
‘a thoughtful, atmospheric novel that’ll win plenty of fans … Eddie Thomas Petersen has put together an exciting narrative that’s also laden with interesting ideas, all making for a surprisingly rich experience – whether it’s exploring nature vs. nurture or the purpose of art. It’s shrewdly paced, at times beautiful and at times horrific, and it’s always compelling. An excellent read as the dark winter months start to draw in.’ IndieLitFic
J Slauerhoff, Adrift in the Middle Kingdom, translated by David McKay
‘a gritty, realistic, and beautifully detailed snapshot of life in inter-war Amoy and Shanghai’, from China sf commentator Jonathan Clements, author of A Brief History of China
Sylvia Townsend Warner, Kingdoms of Elfin (1977)
‘Handheld Classics’ republication is a triumph, complete with a beautiful Arthur Rackham cover and a blurb from Neil Gaiman.’ Paperback Preview Book of the Month, The Bookseller, 27 July 2018.
‘A book for anyone who has heard the horns of Elfin in the distance at twilight, as much as it is for readers who crave fine literature and are certain that elves and their kingdoms are bosh.’ Neil Gaiman
‘The subtlety of Warner’s vision, and ultimately of her empathy towards her fellow beings, is a refusal despite all inclinations to separate the rational and the irrational, the material and the immaterial, the earthly and the yearning for something else. She might have dismissed faith but she understood the impulse towards an elsewhere.’ The Times Literary Supplement, 26 October 2018.
‘a conception of Fairy that is dominant in English-language writing —a magical land populated by strange beings who look like humans and act like sociopaths. Terry Pratchett’s elves, for example, who are terrific and beget terror. Warner’s kingdoms obviously belong to this tradition of Fairy’. Strange Horizons June 2019
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