Novelist Anthony Grey at special book signing in Holt

Anthony Grey at the book signing at Holt Bookshop with Maggie Golden, who used to work in the EDP Cr

Anthony Grey at the book signing at Holt Bookshop with Maggie Golden, who used to work in the EDP Cromer office when Mr Grey worked there as a reporter. - Credit: Archant

Special anniversary editions of a best-selling novel written by a Norfolk writer were signed at the weekend in an historic town.

Anthony Grey, 75, a former EDP reporter in Cromer and Sheringham, was at Holt Bookshop, Appleyard, Holt, yesterday (Saturday).

He was signing 30th anniversary copies of Saigon which was written between 1978 and 1982.

Mr Grey, from Keswick, south of Norwich, also signed 25th anniversary editions of another bestseller Peking.

The novelist worked for the EDP between 1960-1964 and also worked in Norwich, Thetford, Diss and Great Yarmouth. While in north Norfolk he used to cover Holt Town Council.

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One of the visitors who attended the book signing was one of his oldest friends Maggie Golden.

She worked with the reporter in the Cromer office of the EDP in the 1960s.

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Mr Grey lodged with her family in Cromer when he first joined the daily regional paper.

Speaking about Saigon, he said: 'Writing Saigon nearly killed me because it was quite a task. I had never written anything quite as long as that before. I would wake up sweating in the night because I thought I could not finish it without ever having gone to Vietnam.'

Research into the 350,000 word novel took four years and he described the book as his 'magnum opus'.

'I found it fascinating. When I was researching the history I was looking for scoops. I am still a reporter at heart and that turned out to be a good approach to write a novel. I did not dream it would as successful as it was,' he added.

The 75-year-old who has written eight novels said it was gratifying Saigon and his other books, including Peking, were still being read.

Mr Grey, who has two daughters, grew up in Norwich and after training with the EDP he worked as a reporter for international news agency Reuters where he covered China and eastern Europe.

While he was in Beijing covering the Cultural Revolution he was imprisoned by the Chinese government for 27 months from 1967 to 1969 which 'changed his frame of mind'.

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