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Ex-editor pens first novel while undergoing cancer treatment

Eric LangtonA retired weekly editor battling cancer has written his debut novel while receiving treatment in Italy.

Eric Langton, former editor-in-chief at the Chester Chronicle, has penned Tosser: Heads You Win Tails You Die, after being inspired to work on a book following a move to Tuscany.

The book follows the fortunes and misfortunes of a man who hands over major decisions to the toss of a coin because he has made such a mess of his life.

Eric, pictured above left, retired in 2011 after 40 years in journalism, when a Trinity Mirror restructure placed his job at risk of redundancy.

He said of the book: “There is murder, kidnap, politics and corruption – not a bit like Chester.

“I wasn’t sure about creating a bucket list for myself, seemed a bit pessimistic, and I’m not up to bungee jumping off Runcorn Bridge or hover boarding down Mount Kilimanjaro. But most journalists feel they have a book in them so I started my list with that idea.”

Eric and his wife Olivia decided to move to Tuscany to continue his treatment for cancer after hopes of a five year all clear were dashed.

Eric, whose career included long spells with the Liverpool Echo and the Daily Post, added: “My wife Olivia and I live in an inspirational place, one of the officially prettiest villages in Italy, with mountain and valley views. We have two holiday lets here, the locals have accepted us into their hearts, and the medical treatment is superb.

“Being able to continue writing has been incredibly therapeutic and I have been gathering material for a second book.”

Tosser: Heads You Win Tails You Die is available on Amazon.


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  • March 30, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    Good luck Eric – a brilliant mentor for trainee journalists and young editors as well as being a top bloke.

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  • March 31, 2016 at 4:54 am

    Eric gave me my first (and what happened to be, last) ever job working for HM Gutter Press. He gave me a good old grilling in the interview, but good on him, he took the chance. He subsequently phoned me at home, spending a good while extolling the virtues (and pitfalls) of becoming a journo. It’s a call which I was always grateful for. He also gave me a second chance when I was accused of ‘threatening’ a fellow member of staff – in this case a hugely unpopular little weasel of a man who needed taking down a peg or two. Sorry, Eric, but I was guilty, despite my protestations at the time. Mr L was a bit grumpy, and barely said two words to me since that initial phone call. He said to my editor once: ‘can you keep him on a tight leash?’ Anyway, Mr L, good luck with the book and, more importantly, kick the cancer into touch. All the very best.

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  • April 3, 2016 at 8:09 am

    Eric was the best editor-in-chief to work for by a country mile – and I’ve worked with plenty. It was refreshing and inspirational to work for a boss who wanted to push the boundaries rather than cower behind the usual ‘safety first and water everything down’ attitude. His audacious approach was based on knowing the law inside out and trusting his excellent judgement. And a bloody good writer too!
    I’m looking forward to reading the book which is sure to be a ripping yarn.

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