The Tomb Guardians

By Paul Griffiths

A new novel by Paul Griffiths

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Publication date: June 2021

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Henningham Family Press and Unbound are joining forces to offer you limited and exclusive rewards for The Tomb Guardians, but be quick. They won't be available for long.
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1 x copy of The Tomb Guardians paperback with foil debossed cover and four colour plates.

1 x copy of Mr. Beethoven, Griffiths’ multi-award listed novel of 2020.


  • Name listed in the back of The Tomb Guardians (time limited)
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1 x Printed proof of the paperback book before the main printing (so you can read the novel before general release in June 2021).

1 x Handmade, signed Artists’ Book of The Tomb Guardians.

1 x Handmade, signed Artists’ Book of Mr. Beethoven.

NB: hand binding of copies will take place after general release of the paperback in June 2021



  • £30 discount on The Tomb Guardians (will be £80 after presale)
  • Name listed in the back of The Tomb Guardians (time limited)
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Frequently Asked Questions

When will my book be ready?

The paperback edition is published on 30th June 2021 and will be posted out for this date. The handmade hardback editions will be made in the autumn and posted out by mid-December 2021.

I want to specify the name that gets listed inside the book, how do I do this?

Please fill in this form before 10th May 2021 to add a specific name. Any names added after this date won't be included in the book.

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As two intellectuals quietly discuss Strigel’s paintings of the guardians at the tomb, their voices blend and clash with the panicked voices of the guards themselves, who have woken up to find the tomb is open and one of their companions is missing. As one group wrestles with the representation of historical truth in art, the other tries to find a way out of a fix. A stunning short novel, which reinvents how we do art history at the same time as it reinvents the novel as a form.
PHILIP TERRY (Editor of The Penguin Book of Oulipo)

A highly original novel exploring the artistic and political significance of four portraits, which belong to the dawn of Protestantism. A textual performance that can be read in a single sitting, and re-read.

The author of Mr. Beethoven (Goldsmiths Prize 2020 shortlist; Walter Scott Prize 2021 longlist; Republic of Consciousness Prize 2021 longlist) sustains this theme: the power of the imagination to unlock historical truth. Griffiths resurrected Beethoven with varied approaches to prose. In The Tomb Guardians, a single infinite conversation is explored without a break. Each of his novels presents readers with new rules, yet the same emotional depth.

[Mr. Beethoven is] a riddling, playful, and often very funny investigation of literary form, and a demonstration of the unexpected liberation that can emerge from self-imposed constraints.  JON DAY Music & Literature

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  • Paul Griffiths is an internationally respected authority on classical music, whose books have been translated into twelve languages. He has worked as a music critic on major publications in London (The Times) and New York (the New York Times, The New Yorker). He received an OBE for services to music literature and composition, and has been honoured also in France (Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) and the United States (Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences). His first novel, Myself and Marco Polo (Chatto & Windus), won a Commonwealth Writers' Prize in 1990, and extracts from his third, let me tell you (Reality Street), were made into a song cycle by Hans Abrahamsen in 2013 for Barbara Hannigan and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. His novel Mr. Beethoven (Henningham Family Press) was shortlisted for the Goldsmiths Prize 2020, longlisted for the Republic of Consciousness Prize 2021, Walter Scott Prize 2021 and republished by NYRB Books in 2021.

  • What are we going to do now?

    I don’t know what to do now.

    What do you mean, What are we going to do now?

    What do you mean?

    I just don’t know what to do.

    Steady on.

    Steady on.

    You don’t realise.

    What’s the problem, then?


    It’s this lecture.


    I just don’t like it.

    It’s fallen apart on me.

    There’s a lot I don’t like, beginning with that dirty great rock having shifted on its own-i-o.

    That’s happened before.

    He shouldn’t have gone.

    Not like this. The whole point…. Never mind.

    No, he shouldn’t have gone.


  • 24th March 2021 G.F Smith and the German Bier Paper

    50 subscribers have already pledged over £1300 towards The Tomb Guardians!

    Thank you to everyone who has joined us. Our first 24hrs of crowdfunding saw us break the £1000 mark, which is a first for us. These updates are where you will see the project evolve. 

    German Bier Paper

    Today we received word that the fine paper company G.F Smith will be sponsoring The Tomb Guardians. Paper…

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About Henningham Family Press

Henningham Family Press is a microbrewery for books. Their artist’s books have been acquired by National Galleries Scotland, V&A, Tate, National Poetry Library and Stanford University. Their performance publishing events have taken place in the British Library, BBC Radio Theatre, Christie’s, Dundee Contemporary Arts and in Moscow with the British Council. Their novels have been shortlisted for The Goldsmith’s Prize, British Book Awards, Republic of Consciousness Prize and longlisted for The Walter Scott Prize.

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