Anonymous former Matlock livestock farmer uses lockdown to write debut novel set in the Dales

An anonymous former livestock farmer from Matlock has published a debut novel set around the Derbyshire Dales after turning his hand to writing fiction during lockdown.

By Ed Dingwall
Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 12:44 pm
Updated Wednesday, 21st April 2021, 12:57 pm

Going by the pen name Austin Glaves, the 54-year-old has drawn upon his years of agricultural experience to produce The Anarchic Farm, described as ‘a story of love, betrayal, and super glue.’

Austin, who is now a student at the University of Derby, said: “I had the idea to write a book for about ten years. I had a plot formulated and decided to write during lockdown.

“Many events and situations in the book are based on my own life and experiences. However, I’ll stop short of saying specifically what. Readers can decide that for themselves.”

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The secret novelist known as Austin Glaves.

Austin studied at the prestigious St Martin’s School of Art and Design before establishing his own creative design agency.

A growing interest in local living and sustainable food production eventually led his family to Derbyshire to run an organic farm, as well as a ‘field to fork’ restaurant in Derby.

He said: “I’m committed to celebrating and promoting the sheer beauty of the Peak District. Even though it’s on my doorstep and I see it every day, I remain in awe of the landscape and the gifts it has to offer.

“For a moment, readers can now depart their stressful lives and experience it for themselves.”

The Anarchic Farm is available in paperback or ebook format.

The novel tells the story of Aiden Blake, who winds up in an unfamiliar world of farming after his previous life unexpectedly falls apart. There follows a tale of dark secrets, life-threatening incidents, new love and eccentric humour.

Austin said: “My experience in farming allows me to present a very real and vivid depiction of this life, and it should be just as fascinating for those who live in the city.”

Early readers have praised the novel in reviews on Amazon, with one saying: “This book is funny, emotional and tells of a life full of the ups and downs of farming for a newbie, with a dark twist at the end. Great characterisation. Like a cross between All Creatures Great and Small and a cracking Jilly Cooper.”

The book is available in Kindle and paperback format via for other ebook readers via

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