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82. Handheld Press publishers

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What’s it like to set up your own publishing business? What does it take to succeed? And how do you find the right books? We talk to Kate Macdonald of Handheld Press, who gives us some behind-the-scenes insights into running a small, independent publishers, and her mission to seek out forgotten fiction and authors who need to be rediscovered.

In particular we talk about Business as Usual, an epistolatory novel by Jane Oliver and Anne Stafford that has all the makings of a word-of-mouth hit. And Kate tells us how she came to publish Zelda Fitzgerald and on getting an endorsement from Neil Gaiman for an obscure book of fantasy short stories that turned out to be one of his all-time favourites.

Kate also has two book club recommendations for us, After the Death Of Ellen Keldberg by Eddie Thomas Petersen, a book she describes as bewilderingly good, ‘a book that glows with ice crystals’, and The Caravaners by Elizabeth von Arnim, a book that will have you ‘weeping with laughter and recoiling with horror at the same time’.

Handheld Press book recommendations

Business as Usual by Jane Oliver and Anne Stafford

Save Me The Waltz by Zelda Fitzgerald

The Exile Waiting by Vonda N. McIntyre

Women’s Weird, Melissa Edmundson (ed.)

British Weird, James Machin (ed.)

Kingdoms of Elfin by Silvia Townsend Warner

After the Death Of Ellen Keldberg by Eddie Thomas Petersen

The Caravaners, by Elizabeth von Arnim


Find everything you might want to know about Handheld Press on their website.

Join the Handheld Press book club.

Watch some Handheld Press videos on their Youtube channel.

Read more about Vonda N. McIntyre and her life and career.

Don’t miss

As a complete change from Kate’s literary gems of the past, listen to our Booker Prize episode where we debate the six shortlisted titles in no-holds-barred book club style.





  • Caryl
    October 3, 2022 at 9:14 am  - Reply

    I had to pop back to comment on this episode to say that I added Business as Usual to our book club list based on the discussion about it here. It was finally chosen as our book club pick for September and everyone loved it. This was probably the slimmest book we’ve read so far, however, this was the one we talked about the most!
    Thanks for the recommendation.

    • Kate
      October 4, 2022 at 9:04 am  - Reply

      Ah that’s wonderful to hear, thanks for letting us know.

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