Grace Nichols was born in Georgetown, Guyana, and grew up in a small village on the Guyanese coast. She moved to the city with her family when she was eight, an experience central to her first novel, Whole of a Morning Sky (1986).
Her first poetry collection, I is a Long-Memoried Woman, was published in 1983. It won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize, and a subsequent film adaptation was awarded a gold medal at the International Film and Television Festival of New York. The book was also dramatized for radio by the BBC. Subsequent poetry collections include The Fat Black Woman’s Poems (1984), Lazy Thoughts of a Lazy Woman (1989) and Sunris (1996).
She also writes books for children, inspired predominantly by Guyanese folklore and Amerindian legends, including Come on into My Tropical Garden (1988) and Give Yourself a Hug (1994). Everybody Got A Gift (2005) includes new and selected poems, and her collection, Startling the Flying Fish (2006), contains poems that tell the story of the Caribbean.
Her latest adult collections are Picasso, I Want My Face Back and I Have Crossed an Ocean.
Most recently, Nichols has written a multimedia production, Dora vs Picasso.
She lives in England with her partner, the poet and playwright John Agard.