A ‘living treasure’ of the Western Australian children’s literature community was today awarded the prestigious Nan Chauncy Award.
The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Chair Wendy Rapee announced Jan Nicholls as winner of the 2021 Nan Chauncy Award, which honours people who have made an outstanding contribution to Australian children’s literature.
Ms Rapee said Jan Nicholls' enduring and passionate commitment to children’s literature was inspiring.
“Jan is highly respected and admired by the West Australian children’s book community and beyond,” Ms Rapee said.
“In addition to her decades-long professional career as a teacher librarian, where she has encouraged thousands of students to develop a love of reading, she has also dedicated countless volunteer hours to professional organisations that advocate for Australian children’s and young adult literature and its creators.”
Ms Nicholls was a teacher librarian at St Mary’s Anglican Girls’ School for almost 30 years from 1985 to 2014.
From 1992 she volunteered at the newly established Fremantle Children’s Literature Centre (renamed The Literature Centre in 2012) and was one of the first teacher librarians to support their Talented Young Writers’ Programme.
In her letter of support of Ms Nicholls’ Nan Chauncy Award nomination, Founder and Director of The Literature Centre Lesley Reece AM described Nicholls as “quite simply, a living treasure of the WA children’s and young adult scene”.
Ms Nicholls joined the CBCA WA in 2007 and has held several key roles including two terms as President: 2009 to 2012 and 2017 to 2021.
Over the years, she has been involved with the Association of Independent Schools WA Libraries (AISWA Libraries), the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) and the International Board of Books for Young People (IBBY) and served as a judge for The Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards and the Tim Winton Award for Young Writers several times.
Award-winning author Meg McKinlay acknowledged Ms Nicholls' tireless support for the WA children’s writing community.
“I am just one among many WA creators who can say that our career trajectories owe a significant debt to the advocacy and activities of the CBCA WA and by extension to Jan’s excellent, unswerving stewardship,” Ms McKinlay said.
Established in 1983 and named after the noted Tasmanian children’s author, the biennial Nan Chauncy Award will be formally presented on Friday August 20 at the CBCA Book of the Year Awards event, to be held at Government House South Australia.
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