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Journalist turned author re-releases bestseller

A former daily reporter who was imprisoned in China for more than two years for his reporting of the Cultural Revolution has re-released one of his most famous novels – 30 years after its original publication.

Anthony Grey, left, who worked for the Eastern Daily Press from 1960-1964, has re-issued his bestselling book Saigon – that follows the lives of three families, from the French colonial era in the early 1920s until the end of the Vietnam War.

The 75-year-old, who is from Keswick, south of Norwich, began his career at The Bearsden and Milngavie Chronicle at the age of 19, before moving onto the EDP.

Anthony described Saigon as his “magnum opus” and said research into the 350,000 word novel took four years between 1978 and 1982.

“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,” he told the EDP.

“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.”

The author who has written eight novels said it was gratifying Saigon as well as his other books, including Peking, were still being read.

While he was in Beijing covering the Cultural Revolution he was imprisoned by the Chinese government for 27 months from 1967 to 1969.

Anthony officially relaunched the novel at the Holt Bookshop in Norwich.