Author wins praise from Louis de Bernieres

A novelist from Ampthill has won praise from Louis de Bernières, author of Captain Corelli's Mandolin which became a box office hit on the big screen.
Philip WhiteleyPhilip Whiteley
Philip Whiteley

PJ Whiteley, who has launched his second novel Marching on Together under his name of Philip Whiteley, has had his work endorsed by the top writer.

A quote from Louis de Bernières, which is to be displayed on the cover and on Amazon, says: “I very much enjoyed Marching on Together and was happily carried along by the wonderfully realised characters.”

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Philip secured the breakthrough after being asked to interview de Bernières for the international lifestyle magazine H Edition.

He said: “I don’t claim for a moment that my ability is on a par with Louis’, but it did strike me as we chatted that we have a similar CV and some similar viewpoints.

“I plucked up the nerve to ask him to read the manuscript before publication. I didn’t really expect him to find the time, but he did. I was nervous as to whether he would like it, but he did.”

The accolade adds to an impressive list of commendations and reviews for Philip’s fiction.

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Philip, who has lived in Ampthill for 16 years, was born in Yorkshire and the new book has a strong theme from the county, following a group of Leeds United supporters on a pilgrimage to the Flanders battlefields in August 2014, the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

The story follows six friends who set off for a short break in Bruges. But events conspire to bring more personal secrets, traumas and desires to the surface. Marching on Together is a bittersweet tale of the bonds of family, friendship and tribe and the anguish of unresolved remorse.

It is published by Urbane Publications. Visit