AfroPoets.Net - Click Image to Return to Homepage

 Grace Nichols

AfroPoets Famous Black Writers
 o Home
 o Poetry Board
 o - Famous Poets Gallery


Grace Nichols Poets Picture

Brief Bio

Grace Nichols is a Guyanese-British poet and author. She was born in Georgetown, Guyana in 1950 and moved to London, England in 1977.

Nichols grew up in a coastal village before moving to the city with her family when she was eight. In an interview with Kwame Dawes (Talk Yuh Talk: Interviews with Anglophone Caribbean Poets), she describes growing up in a house full of books. She has said, Because poetry attempts to say the unsayable, it is a way into those parts of yourself that are beyond words. Ever since I was a child dipping into my father's books I was moved by poetry and the music of words and the spell-like quality a poem castsā?T (Children's Literature Interest Group).

After graduating from the University of Guyana with a Diploma in Communications, Nichols worked as both a teacher and a journalist. Her study and work took her to remote areas of Guyana: these experiences fostered an interest in Guyanese folk tales, Amerindian mythologies and the civilisations of South America's ancient, Indigenous people. Much of her work is directly influenced by African, South Asian and Indigenous traditions, which she alludes to in many of her poems.

During this time Nichols started to write fiction, including chapters of her novel Whole of a Morning Sky (1986), as well as some poems. After emigrating to Britain in 1977 with her partner, the poet John Agard, she began to focus on writing and developing poetry.

In 1983 Nichols published her first collection of poems, I Is a Long-Memoried Woman, to significant acclaim. The collection won the 1983 Commonwealth Poetry Prize, the subsequent film adaptation won the Gold Medal at the International Film and Television Festival of New York and I Is has also been dramatised for the BBC.

The following year came The Fat Black Woman's Poems (1984), a celebration of Black womanhood, the Black female body and a rallying cry against the rigid standards imposed onto women. Other poetry collections include Lazy Thoughts of a Lazy Woman (1989) and Sunris (1996), which won the Guyana Poetry Prize, and childrenā?Ts collections including Cosmic Disco and the award-winning Paint Me a Poem. With John Agard she has edited childrenā?Ts anthologies such as Under the Moon and Over the Sea, a collection which showcases poets living in the Caribbean and those from the diaspora as well as traditional rhyme and song.

Her work explores themes of identity, motherhood, and the experiences of Caribbean immigrants in Britain.

Her latest books are Picasso, I Want My Face Back (2009); I Have Crossed an Ocean: Selected Poems (2010); The Insomnia Poems (2017), and Passport to Here and There (2020), which received a Poetry Book Society Special Commendation.

Grace lives in Sussex with the poet John Agard and their family. She was made a Vice-President of the Royal Society of Literature in 2020. In 2021, it was announced that Grace Nichols is the recipient of the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. Later in 2022 she was awarded The Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry by Her Majesty the Queen.

Poems - 20 in all

Grace Nichols

A Fat Poem
Other Ships
Up My Spine
Sleeping Out
Those Women
Sun Is Laughing
Winter Thoughts
My Black Triangle
Give Yourself a Hug
The People Could Fly
Price We Pay for the Sun
Granny Granny Please Comb My Hair
The Fat Black Woman's Instructions to a Suitor
Two Old Black Men on a Leicester Square Park Bench

: Copyright © 2003-2023 : Site Maintained By MrAfrica@AfroPoets.Net :