David Belbin

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David Belbin
Born 1958 (age 56–57)

David Belbin (born 1958) is an English novelist.

He was born in Sheffield, Yorkshire and has lived in Nottingham since attending the University of Nottingham where he earned a degree in English Literature and American Studies. After university, he taught English and Media Studies in Nottingham before becoming a full-time writer in 1994. Since 2002, he has worked part-time at Nottingham Trent University, where he teaches Creative Writing.

Belbin began his career by writing Young Adult Fiction, where his work is known for breaking boundaries and dealing responsibly with difficult social issues that affect teenagers. He first attained success with a number of books for Scholastic's Point Crime series. One of these, Avenging Angel, led to his own popular series, The Beat, which followed a group of young police officers through their two-year probationary period, culminating in the adult novel length Fallen Angel in 2000. The series dealt with racism, rape, paedophilia and homosexuality as well as conventional crimes, often of the kind committed by teenagers.

Belbin's best-known Young Adult novel is Love Lessons, which was published in 1998. "It is a full-length novel which examines the machinations and morality of a sexual affair between a male English teacher and a fifteen-year-old female student," Belbin has said. "I wrote the first draft as an adult novel. The young-adult version took me nearly ten years and a brave editor to get right, but it turned out to be a better book for it."[1] Denial, published in 2004, deals with a similar theme—a teacher accused of molesting a student—in the first person, and many readers found it even more shocking. His most popular novels this century are Festival (2002) about the Glastonbury Pop Festival, and The Last Virgin (2003) which is a wide ranging book about teenage sexuality: 'The author always chooses to understand rather than condemn. He has written numerous novels about young adults but this is his most outspoken.' [2]

Since the publication of Nicked! in 1999, Belbin has written a string of short novels for 'reluctant' readers, often dealing with the same kind of edgy themes as his full length work. Stray (2006) is about a girl gang and drug dealing, while Shouting at the Stars (2005) about the nervous breakdown of a disabled teenage singer/songwriter is one of many books that reflect Belbin's interest in popular music.

Belbin's fiction for adults reflects many of the same concerns as his work for teenagers, but without the limits dictated by Young Adult Fiction's place in Children's Literature. Witchcraft (Ambit magazine, 1989) is about ritual sexual abuse of children. Different Ways of Getting Drunk looks at a young woman's experiments with drugs and bisexuality.[3] Vasectomy (Horizon magazine, 2008)[4] shows a philandering Labour MP in the run up to the Iraq war. His first 'adult' novel, The Pretender (Five Leaves) was about literary forgery. He has also written an early guide to eBay and edited the Crime Express series of novellas which features work by both major and emerging crime writers.

Belbin's work has been translated into more than twenty-five languages.[5] He has written several comics on social issues for UNICEF including 'Cry Me A River', about globalisation.[6] His 2015 contribution to the Dawn of The Unread[7] graphic stories series, 'Shelves', is about his friendship with the novelist Stanley Middleton and the Nottingham novel.

In 2004, Belbin organised Turning Point, the UK's first national conference on Young Adult Fiction which featured many significant Young Adult Fiction authors, including Kevin Brooks, Melvyn Burgess, Anne Cassidy, Keith Gray, Graham Marks, Nicola Morgan, Beverley Naidoo and Bali Rai.[8] In 2012, he became a trustee of Nottingham Playhouse. In 2014, he became chair of the company set up to bid for Nottingham to become a Unesco City of Literature.[9]

In 2011, Belbin began publishing a series of Nottingham based novels about crime and politics, Bone And Cane (Tindal Street Press), which follows a New Labour MP, Sarah Bone, and her ex-lover, convicted cannabis producer, Nick Cane, from 1997 onwards. The second novel in the sequence, "What You Don't Know" appeared in 2012. The same year saw his novel "Student", which chronicles the undergraduate years of a young woman in Nottingham and has been described as belonging to the emerging New-adult fiction genre.

List of works[edit]

David Belbin on the book launch of Secret Gardens


  • The Pretender (2008)
  • Bone And Cane (2011)
  • What You Don't Know (2012)
  • Student (2012)

Young adult novels[edit]

  • The Foggiest (1990)
  • Shoot The Teacher (1993)
  • Avenging Angel (1993)
  • Final Cut (1994)
  • Break Point (1995)
  • Deadly Inheritance (1996)
  • Dark Journey (1997)
  • Love Lessons (1998)
  • Dying For You (1999)
  • Dead Guilty (2000)
  • Festival (2001)
  • The Last Virgin (2002)
  • Denial (2004)

'The Beat' series[edit]

  • Missing Person (1995)
  • Black and Blue (1995)
  • Smokescreen (1996)
  • Asking for It (1996)
  • Dead White Male (1996)
  • Losers (1997)
  • Sudden Death (1997)
  • Night Shift (1998)
  • Victims (1998)
  • Suspects (1999)
  • Fallen Angel (2000)

'The Beat' series synopses[edit]

The Beat series followed a group of young police officers during their probationary period, not only detailing the crimes they dealt with, but also their personal lives and affairs. The storylines of each of the books follow:

# Title Author Published Pages
Missing Person
David Belbin
A fifteen year old girl, Hannah Brown, goes missing, and Clare Coppola is assigned to the case, the first of her probationary period. Could her disappearance be connected to a spree of local robberies? Note: First appearances of Clare Coppola, Jan Hunt and Neil Foster.
Black and Blue
David Belbin
Ben Shipman, a black probationary policeman, faces many instances of organised violence due to his race, and also juggles his relationships with Charlene Harris (an aspiring solicitor) and Ruth Clarke, a fellow probationer. But who is behind it and what do they wish to achieve? Note: First appearances of Ben Shipman, Charlene Harris, Ruth Clarke and Jed Sutcliffe.
David Belbin
Phoenix, a serial arsonist, is at large; first Clare's former school, Greencoat, is damaged, then the local library. But how can she track down a criminal as elusive as a puff of smoke? Note: First appearance of Chris Dylan
Asking For It
David Belbin
A thirteen-year-old girl, Kimberley, has been raped, and Neil is assigned to the case. Shortly after, two university students also suffer the same fate, though this time the rapist wore a mask. Neil must get to the bottom of the case before the attacker strikes again. Note: First appearances of Paul Grace and Melanie Byatt.
Dead White Male
David Belbin
When nineteen-year-old Scott Travis is battered to death, the police are baffled. What could be the motive for such chilling violence? However, as Clare delves deeper into the victim's past, clues involving blackmail, a police officer and an ex-prostitute begin to come to light in a web of lies and deceit. Note: First appearance of Gary Monk.
David Belbin
Life on the Maynard Estate is hard, and Julie Wilder wants out. A winning scratchcard could be a ticket to her new life... A life such as Gordon Loscoe's – he won the lottery and resides in luxury, until is house is burgled and wife violently abducted. Called in to investigate, Paul and Clare uncover a network of crimes based on greed and betrayal. Note: First appearances of Julie Wilder, Curt Wilder, Shirley Wilder, Eddie Broom.
Sudden Death
David Belbin
Dean Sutherland is delighted when he is chosen to play for Nottingham Forest. Of course, he's always been into team games, just not legitimate ones. Though his old friends are not too happy – they think he owes them something, and there's only one way he can pay. But he has to be careful sharing a house with a police officer – Neil Foster's no fool. Soon enough, Dean has to decide which side he's on. Whichever he chooses, there'll be a penalty to pay... Note: First appearances of Dean Sutherland and Joe Hatton.
Night Shift
David Belbin
A prison break-out occurs at the beginning of the night shift, Clare's first since the funeral.
David Belbin
When paedophile Alan Wallace is let out scot-free, the locals are outraged. But the police are duty bound to protect everyone. Even perverts...

Then a two-year old boy goes missing. According to the police, Wallace is not a suspect. But the locals are not so sure... When justice falls, do you take the law into your own hands? Because the punishment should always fit the crime...

David Belbin
When soap actor Mark Murray is murdered, Clare is called into investigate. The media can sense a scandal. With so many suspects, surely you can find leads? But in the theatre, everyone's playing a part... Note: First appearance of Jo McCord. Final appearance of Ruth Clarke.
Fallen Angel
David Belbin
A feature-length climax to the gritty Nottingham police series. Jo McCord thinks she's found love, though there's a dark side to her new boyfriend that she could never have imagined...

Ben Shipman is determined to pin something on Ian Jagger, before the slippery lawyer ties the knot with Charlene... And Clare's probationary period comes to a close. Subsequently, her biggest decision is not whether to stay in the force... NOTE: This concluding book is twice the length of the others in the series, and wraps up all the major plots.

Reluctant Reader novels[edit]

  • Nicked (1999)
  • Runaway Train (2000)
  • Harpies (2001)
  • Witness (2001)
  • Gambler (2002)
  • Coma (2004)
  • Stray (2006)
  • Shouting at the Stars (2005, abridged version 2008)
  • China Girl (2009)
  • Secret Gardens (2011)

Other books[edit]

  • The Right Moment (1999, historical children's novel)
  • Haunting Time (1999, short stories)
  • Boy King (2002, historical children's novel)
  • The eBay Book (2004, revised edition 2005)

Books edited[edit]

  • City of Crime (1997, short stories by writers connected with Nottingham)
  • Middleton at Eighty (1999, with John Lucas, Festschrift for Booker Prize–winning Nottingham author)
  • Harris's Requiem by Stanley Middleton (2006, new edition of Middleton's second novel, with introduction)


External links[edit]