How Mick McCann Changed Leeds


Being a big-head, Mick McCann tells us he’s ‘spanking, top-ranking’. We’ve asked him to

update us on his book How Leeds Changed The World, that we’ve followed with interest since its publication. So after he’s finished boasting, hopefully he’ll mention the book.

 Ey up East Leeds, how y’doing? The Leeds Man here, Leeds’ greatest ever writer, the godfather of ‘Leedsness’, East Leeds’

favourite son, call me what you like… people usually do.

It’s XMAS, so I’m here scandalously, nay, bare-facedly (is that a word Ed?), flogging my book How Leeds Changed The World again… Come on, admit it, you love it.

I don’t mean all that stuff I started with – I

suspect you quite like y’ kids – I’m fighting my East Leeds roots that always told me I shouldn’t brag or be too big for mi boots.

I’ll tell you what I do believe though, never mind believe, I know it, if you’ve got some awkward to buy for relative – be they 10 or 95 – How Leeds Changed The World is the perfect Xmas pressie if they’re interested in Leeds.

Just in case you’ve been living on the moon, HLCTW is a playful, chatty, funky but factual A-Z encyclopaedia of Leeds written in my voice, an East Leeds voice. It’s moist not dry and has sold in its thousands – being Leeds Waterstones top selling book two years in a row – and was chosen this summer by Leeds City Council to be given as a gift from the city of Leeds to the 800 visiting VIPs for the Tour De France Grand Départ 2014.

When I was contacted by the council I was chuffed to be selling 800 copies (don’t worry they absolutely hammered me on the discount) but I was mainly pleased that all the visiting VIPs might realise what a brilliant and important place Leeds is.

Those were my only thoughts on it until later when a mate said, ‘Out of everything they could’ve used Mick, Leeds City Council have chosen your book to represent Leeds to the world, that’s an honour.’ When I thought about that I was genuinely flattered and almost proud… although obviously I’d never admit it.


So what is HLCTW? In my head it’s a toilet book, something you dip in and out of and not sit and read from cover to cover like a novel. It should make you go ‘WOW, I dint know that about Leeds’ most times you open it up. I’m

sorry but it is a Xmas book, that’s where the idea came from, it hit me one Xmas morning. I was sitting looking at all the usual tat I get but don’t really want and thought, ‘Ooh y’grumpy bugger, you didn’t give them any ideas and exactly what was it that would’ve put a smile on your face as you opened it?’

It was when I thought about something I’d really want for Xmas that the idea of a chatty

encyclopaedia of Leeds hit me and I knew I’d have to write it – once the idea was there I had no choice.

So anyway, buy my book from Amazon or Waterstones, you won’t regret it and I’ve got incredibly selfish kids who won’t stop eating food and growing. That’s the problem with kids today it’s all me, me, me… don’t know where they get it from.

Ooh, last thing, Armley Press, the publishing house I run with fellow East Leeds lad and author John Lake, (pictured below) is looking for new novelists so keep your eyes peeled, I’ll come here and have another chunter in the new year. Happy Xmas and try not to be grumpy.


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