My Books for Adults

Find out more about the adult books I have written and contributed to by clicking on the covers below or visit myAmazonBookshop.  Thank you.

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Barcelona Away
SPCK Prison Fiction, 2014

Barcelona Away
Barcelona Away

The moving story of Matt, who loves to watch the football, sink a few pints and throw a few punches. But when his friend is killed in a riot, Matt has to choose between the footie and his family.

Barcelona Away  is an adult fiction book specially commissioned by SPCK to be given to prisoners in the UK.


Buy the book from SPCK  here.

If You’re Proud To Be A Leeds Fan
Mainstream Publishing , Sept 2002

ISBN 978-1840185744

Set in the 2001-02 Premiership season, I followed Leeds United at stadiums home and away, in bars watching satellite, listening to Radio Leeds and Radio Five Live and watching the pages of Ceefax.  I  focuses as much on the fans as on the action on the pitch and tries to establish whether Leeds fans and players are really so bad as their reputation.

The book examines the highs and lows of the club’s recent history and their impact on the supporters – from the Paris riot in 1975 to relegation in 1982 and the glory of the 1992 League win. From the Bowyer-Woodgate trial, the board’s plans to take Leeds United away from Elland Road, the controversial replacement of manager David O’Leary with Terry Venables, and the club’s persistent hooliganism problems, especially the fans’ unceasing hatred of Manchester United.

If You’re Proud to be a Leeds Fan tries to explain why, in the face of so many reasons why you shouldn’t, you still find yourself clapping.

The book includes Leeds poet Tony Harrison’s poem ‘v.’.

Buy the book here

For excerpt see

“In If You’re Proud to be a Leeds Fan . . . Tom Palmer tries to work out just why he claps; why, when he has to miss a home game for work, he feels so bad; and why, whatever day of the week Leeds are playing, he gets a sickly feeling in his stomach until he’s in one of the bars near the station calming his nerves. Set in the 2001-02 Premiership season, the author follows David O’Leary’s young Leeds United team at stadiums home and away; in bars watching satellite; listening to Radio Leeds and watching the pages of Ceefax. He also focuses as much on the fans as on the action on the pitch and tries to establish if Leeds fans are really so bad? 

Original cover

Yorkshire Post, November 2002
It is the best football book i have ever read. You may be surprised to learn that i have supported Blackburn Rovers since 1962, and though i now live in Yorkshire i have no affinity with Leeds United. This does not take anything away from the book, it just goes to prove that most of us real football fans feel just the same way about our teams and the tension we feel on match days. I am sure you described me on nearly every page, to listen to a match on the radio, to superstitions when winning and feeling people have one up on you if their teams beat you. The book is fantastic and you don’t need to be a Leeds fan to read it, i couldn’t put it down and read it in a day. Now i intend buying it as Christmas present for a Leeds Fan i know, and who would appreciate as much as this Blackburn Fan. I feel i must point out that Blackburn did not buy the league, we just bought players, like any other team, that won it for us, Leeds paid 12 million for fowler, nearly as much as the Blackburn team cost that won the prem. I say this tongue in cheek as i am sure you would have preferred Rovers to have won it that season instead of scum of the earth from old trafford.  Once again thankyou for such a brilliant read. Barry Millar, November 2010

‘Born in the LGI’ Leeds Stories 1.

Comma Press and Leeds Guide, July 03

ISBN 0954464133

The first in this series of unique short story ‘mini-anthologies’. Distributed through Leeds Guide, as well as sold separately in Yorkshire bookshops, Leeds Stories 1 featured six specially commissioned stories from new and established Leeds authors.




ISBN 978-1857547696

Comma Press, Nov 2004

‘Do Something Good’ appears in Bracket, a short story anthology. Bracket brings together 20 of the country’s most promising, previously unpublished writers. From the cliffs of Flamborough Head to high rise, inner city madness; from lost loves to the last days of civilisation – the settings and scenarios in these stories captivate and unsettle in equal measure, all the time striving for that most unlikely modern thing, intimacy.

“Short fiction is in good hands”

Buy the book here

Four Fathers

ISBN: 9781901927276

Route Publishing, April 2006

Editor: Tom Palmer

Here, four sons reveal the bonds that exist between themselves and their very different fathers; they then turn the tables and consider their own roles as fathers and father figures. These tender and heart-warming tales mix memoir with fiction and provide a perfect backdrop to reflect on this most important relationship. A collection of stories about Fathers that uncover a deep seam of hidden feelings and forgotten memories which reveal the scale of their significance.

Buy the book here

Fathers wonderfully brought to life…so many contrasts, and yet so much to recognise.Times Education Supplement

A fascinating double-take on the experience of being fathered and then becoming a father yourself – eight short tales full of wit, pathos and insight. Blake Morrison

Its an enjoyable read and one that stays with you .Perhaps because in discovering the fathers, you sense how they have shaped their sons’ lives and so the stories are as much about the present and the future as they are the past. City Life

This collection of meditations on the nature of fatherhood by writers unafraid to explore their true emotions is a must-read for anyone interested in the strange mysteries of the human heart. Joolz Denby

Brilliantly written and incredibly moving. The Western Mail

A present you can open again and again The Leeds Guide

These short tales strike a chord which is funny, poignant and full of feeling…Short and sweet these little snapshots will stay with you long after you have closed the cover Yorkshire Post

The Book of Leeds, A City in Short Fiction

ISBN 9781905583010

Comma Press, Oct 2006
Tom Palmer and Maria Crossan (Editors)

Manoeuvres’ appears in The Book of Leeds. Its based on News Junkie for which I received a K Blundell Award for development.

Buy the book here

Bringing together fiction from some of the city’s most celebrated writers, The Book of Leeds traces the unique contours that fifty years of social and economic change can impress on a city. These are stories that take place at oblique angles to the larger events in the city’s history, or against wider currents that have shaped the social and cultural landscape of today’s Leeds: a modern city with both problems and promise. The Book of Leeds is a homage in fiction to the northern English city of Leeds, and to the writers who have focused on their art on home, rather than on more fashionable cities to the south or overseas. The book is part of a “reading the city” series from Comma Press. It’s a great idea for a series as it gives a unique perspective on places that have rich histories and talented writers. The editors have done a grand job in selecting these stories to create a highly readable collection with considerable literary merit. There are just ten stories in The Book of Leeds. They are collected from stories published since 1962, the date of Tony Harrison’s opening story, the postwar reminiscence Toothache. Editor Tom Palmer credits Harrison’s poetry with sparking his (Palmer’s) interest in writing about Leeds, something he didn’t believe possible until he heard Harrison’s work. Palmer’s Manouvres might be a paean to Tony Harrison, as it explores the lives of a bunch of young men who are typical football fans but unlikely literary figures. In Palmer’s treatment they are thoroughly convincing. Testosterone-driven, violent, drunk, leering and racist they rise above their own stereotype to thoroughly confuse young Mark on an illicit night out with the boys. All it takes is a visit to a kebab shop to show that even in the football thug’s world of artificial certainties there are transcendent loyalties. The point at which Mark becomes aware of all this is very funny, the more so for Palmer’s dry and restrained narration. For a lesser writer this could easily have been a sanctimonious piece of social commentary, but Palmer sees deeper than that. I’ve never been to Leeds, but after reading this book I know a few places I’d visit, and perhaps something of what to expect. If I were accused of being a Jew in a pub, I’d leave. On match days I’d wear blue and yellow. And I’d find the library to see what other secrets Leeds has been holding back. The authors of this anthology, all individuals with well established literary credentials, have done their city and their readers a service. Leeds is more than a resurgent industrial center; it has a rich and diverse social fabric, and you can get a good kebab. Tony O’Brien

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