Review: Northern Writers Gather at the Crowd of Favours

A group of four Yorkshire-based novelists, mostly newly published, got together for an evening of readings, chat and a short dramatization at the Crowd of Favours pub off Kirkgate on Thursday 16th May.

PJ (Philip) Whiteley hosted the event, introducing younger writers Eli Allison, Robert Welbourn and Claire Patel-Campbell. Each of the authors writes in different genres, but some of the binding themes that emerged in the talks and discussions included writing in a style you are passionate about, and finding your own individual voice.

Philip Whiteley. Photograph by Miriam Schupp.

Eli described how she loves to create dystopian worlds and edgy characters, as she described the female lead character, Onion, of her debut novel Sour Fruit.

Eli Allison. Photograph by Miriam Schupp.

Robert Welbourn is influenced by modern North American authors, especially Bret Easton Ellis. His debut, Ideal Angels, written at a fast pace in the present tense, deploys the style for a contemporary novel set in Leeds featuring a seemingly doomed love affair.

Robert Welbourn. Photograph by Marie Grob.

Claire Patel-Campbell spoke in a beautifully correct New England accent, reading from her crime novel Abernathy, set in a small town in the USA.

Claire Patel-Campbell. Photograph by Miriam Schupp.

Philip Whiteley, who writes fiction as PJ Whiteley, gave a reading from his Leeds-themed book Marching on Together, published 2017 with a cover quote by Captain Corelli author Louis de Bernières. His third novel, the Leeds-based drama A Love of Two Halves, is due out in October. Two actors, Sophie Joelle and James Sidgwick, performed a dramatization of an excerpt of dialogue from the book during the evening.

Sophie Joelle and James Sidgwick. Photograph by Miriam Schupp.

The four, members of an informal grouping known as Northern Writers, hope to hold further events in Leeds. Three of them are published with Unbound, the London-based literary publisher that employs a crowdfunding model, and has published books by Kate Mosse, Tibor Fischer, Andy Hamilton, Terry Jones and many others.

Photograph by Miriam Schupp.

For further information on each author:

Eli Allison

Robert Welbourn

Claire Patel-Campbell 

PJ Whiteley

Feature photograph by Marie Grob.  Left to right:  Claire Patel-Campbell, Robert Welbourn, Philip Whiteley and Eli Allison.

Our Contributors



Mags Richards

Mags Richards

Mags is the Content Editor at Leeds Living, who scours articles and makes sure they're perfect before they're published. She also reviews theatre.

Stay Informed

Stay Informed

Further reading


Get Involved

Leeds Living is run entirely by volunteers with contributions from the community. We are an open platform and welcome anyone with an interest in Leeds, to get involved.

Stay Informed


Until you tell us otherwise we’ll now send you irregular emails packed full of all things Leeds.

You can stop this anytime you like and we’ll never use your email address for any other reason or share it with anyone.