Arts Derbyshire

Artist profile

Narvel Annable


Narvel Annable’s first book Miss Calder’s Children (1997) described his early post-war schooldays in Belper, a quaint Derbyshire mill town.

His second book, Heanor Schooldays (1998), was also autobiographic, covering his unhappiness in a grim, gas-lit, Dickensian, Church of England junior school from 1955 to 1958. Adolescence and the move to William Howitt Secondary Modern School, “A culture of kindness” in September 1958 was a dramatic improvement, graphically retold in the second half of the social history.

In 1963 he emigrated to the United States and arrived in Detroit on the day before the assassination of President Kennedy. The next seven years saw him in a variety of jobs which included labourer, lathe-hand, bank messenger and camera salesman.

In 1975 he graduated from Eastern Michigan University (magna cum laude) and taught history for a year at St Bridget High School in Detroit.

In 1976 he returned to Derbyshire to help organise and launch ‘Heritage Education Year 1977’ at Sudbury Hall.

From 1978 to 1995 he taught history at the Valley Comprehensive School in Worksop in Nottinghamshire. Seizing retirement at the earliest opportunity, he started to write historical and educational articles for the local Press and has been interviewed several times on BBC Local Radio.

Death on the Derwent – A Murder Mystery set in Belper 1949, his first novel, was published in 1999.

His fourth book, A Judge Too Far – A Biography of His Honour Judge Keith Matthewman QC of the Nottingham Crown Court, was published in 2001.

Inspired by his early gay experiences during adolescence at school, Narvel’s second autobiographic novel Lost Lad was published in 2003.

His third autobiographic novel was published in 2006. Scruffy Chicken follows his adventures during an extended English cycling vacation in 1965 where he uncovers a hidden world of repressed homosexuality in deepest Derbyshire.

Secret Summer, a fourth autobiographic effort is a gay love story set in Detroit and Derbyshire in 1966. It was published in 2010.

Sea Change (2014) is a sequel to Lost Lad, where Simeon Hogg escapes from a living hell into an enchanted world of fairytale people inhabiting the nooks and crannies of deepest Derbyshire.

The second edition of Death on the Derwent was also released in 2014, with a new Foreword and new cover.

Double Life was released in 2019, and he has just released a brand new book in November 2022, 16 in 61:

16 in 61 is now available to purchase from Amazon:

Narvel lives with his partner Terry Durand in Belper, Derbyshire. In September 2022 they celebrated 46 years together.


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