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Dear Granny Smith by Roy Mayall.

I first started writing under the name Roy Mayall in a diary piece for the London Review of Books, on the 24th of September 2009.

At the time the Royal Mail was very much in the news due to an impending strike, which eventually took place over two days in October and November that year.

The name Roy Mayall was a joke, but the requirement to use a pseudonym wasn't. I'd been advised not to use my own name by my union, the CWU, as they feared I might be targeted because of it. The LRB article went viral and on the back of it I was offered a book deal by Short Books.

The writing took place over the period of the strike. I was given two weeks to work on it it but, postal work being very demanding physically, there were only six days that I was capable of actually sitting down and using my brain. Nevertheless the book was delivered a few days early.

The title Dear Granny Smith is from a conversation which took place at one of our Work Time Listening and Learning sessions, also known as Team Talk, which we hold once a week on our quietest day. One of my colleagues asked what our ongoing modernisation programme would mean for Granny Smith - an office nickname for the elderly woman who relies upon our service. Granny Smith isn't important, we were told. Granny Smith doesn't matter anymore.

The book itself is part fiction, being based upon the life of one of my co-workers. I interviewed him over a two hour period down our local Labour Club one afternoon. It was this interview which would serve as the basis of the book. After the book came out, and on the back of that LRB article, I became temporarily the go-to pundit for stories about the postal industry. I also wrote for the Guardian Comment is free and for the LRB blog. Someone made a quilt in my honour, while someone else wrote a song. The book was selected as the Book of the Week on Radio 4 for the week of the 14th of December 2009, and read out in five instalments by the actor Philip Jackson.

You can read all of my articles about the Royal Mail here