Tag Archives: Wirksworth

Northern Light Cinema

Most authors welcome the opportunity to talk about their work. Not just because they might sell some more books, but because they can discuss the themes they have written about.

During the Wirksworth Festival in September I’ll be talking about The Long Road Out of Town at the town’s  Northern Lights Cinema.  BBC Radio Derby’s Andy Potter will be interviewing me, and we’ll follow this with a Q & A with the audience.

I’m very much looking forward to it – and hoping plenty of people turn up. The event is on Sunday September 22 at 2 pm.

The challenge of self publishing

The Long Road Out of Town is now in one of Amazon's massive warehouses.

The Long Road Out of Town is now in one of Amazon’s massive warehouses.


It’s only when you self-publish a book that you realise all the work that has to go into making it available to readers. All my other books were taken care of by publishers. With The Long Road Out of Town I’ve had to do everything from hiring a copy editor and illustrator to finding a printer and undertaking all the sales and marketing work.

Sales and marketing have been the toughest part. After all the time I’ve spent trying to understand the nuts and bolts of the Amazon Advantage programme I should be an expert. But I’m not. I still find Amazon’s different sales programmes (Advantage, Advantage Professional, Pro Merchant, FBA, Vendor Central, Seller Central) very confusing.

What has surprised me is how much time all of this takes. I’ve spent most of this week sending out press releases, flagging up the book on Twitter and Facebook, and packing and posting copies of the book. After not long returning from a jiffy bag run at one of the discount shops in the high street, I’m shortly heading to the post office.

And now the book is making its way into the world, like a small child, you wonder how many people will be interested in it and whether those who buy it will think it’s any good.

I’m delighted there’s interest in the Wirksworth and Matlock area of Derbyshire, where I grew up. This is a part of England that hardly ever makes it into the pages of a memoir. I hope I’ve managed to evoke what it was like growing up there in the 1970s, well at least what it was like for me.

So, despite all the hard work involved in self-publishing, would I do it again? Yes. I’m about to start work on a memoir about my career in journalism.

Wirksworth photos

10 interesting facts about Wirksworth


Since writing The Long Road Out of Town, I have come to a new appreciation of Wirksworth, the Derbyshire town where I grew up.  Here are 10 interesting things about it.

1.Wirksworth once had an underground railway, opened in 1877 and running from the station yard to The Dale quarry.

2.The Barmote Court has been held for over 700 years. It was established in 1288 to deal with disputes and claims arising from lead mining and to collect the royalties due.

3.Haarlem Mill used to manufacture the red tape that gave its name to Whitehall bureaucracy.

4.St Mary’s parish church contains “The Wirksworth Stone”, a seventh century carved stone depicting the lives of Christ and the Virgin Mary. St Mary’s is also one of the few churches in Britain which still performs the ancient custom of “clypping the church” when the congregation link hands around the church.

5.George Eliot is said to have based the town of Snowfield in her novel Adam Bede on Wirksworth, where her aunt and uncle lived.

6.Wirksworth is one of the few places in the country that still holds an annual well dressing, a thanksgiving for water

7.Sir Frederick Treves, who operated on King Edward VII and the “Elephant Man”, lived in Wirksworth.

8.D.H.Lawrence lived in Mountain Cottage in Middleton-by-Wirksworth from 1918-1919.

9.The Middleton Mine in Middleton-by-Wirksworth contains 25 miles of underground tunnels on three levels.

10.Baroness Orczy, author of The Scarlet Pimpernel featured the former Crown Inn in the Market Place in her novel Beau Brocade.

Buy The Long Road Out of Town



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About Greg Watts


Greg Watts is an author whose books include the 2018 comic novel The Man Behind the Menu and the award-winning Ole! Ole! Passion on a Plate: The Rise of Spanish Cuisine in London.  His memoir The Long Road Out of Town tells the story of how he escaped a small Midlands town in the 1970s to come to London, where he discovered his vocation to be a writer.

He has also written for numerous publications, including The Times, London’s Evening Standard, and British Journalism Review, and has worked in TV and radio.




Writing a memoir is not about you

Greg revisiting the Derbyshire town he grew up in to complete his memoir The Long Road Out of Town.

Greg revisiting Wirksworth, the Derbyshire town he grew up in, to complete his memoir The Long Road Out of Town.

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