Citation for Jan Nicholls
Jan has made an outstanding and long-term contribution to the field of Australian literature for children and young people and is a passionate advocate. She has been a leader in professional associations including the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) WA Branch and the Association of Independent Schools of Western Australia Libraries (AISWA Libraries) and an active member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Australia West and the International Board of Books for Young People (IBBY).
Jan joined the CBCA in 2007 and has had two terms as President of CBCA WA Branch (2009-2012) and (2017-2021). She has strengthened links with the other Branch Presidents and represented the Branch at National CBCA AGMs. In 2020 she took on the role of Interim National Board Member. Jan has also strengthened ties between the CBCA WA Branch and other organisations such as Writing WA, SCBWI and IBBY.
Jan has a thorough knowledge of the work of each CBCA sub-committee and provides direction and timely advice. She has put in place succession planning to ensure the long-term stability and capability of the CBCA WA Branch. Jan seeks aspirants to shadow experienced leaders with a view to identified personnel taking future roles. She has been instrumental to the success of the major WA Branch annual activities including A Night with Our Stars (ANWOS), the Make Your Own Story Book competition and the CBCA Book Week Dinner. She is an engaging and entertaining presenter at the Branch’s major functions often colourfully accessorised with CBCA badges. Jan’s importance to CBCA WA Branch cannot be overstated.
‘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.’ Meg McKinlay Author
As President of the CBCA WA Branch, Jan has raised awareness and appreciation of children’s literature in the wider community. She was a Book Doctor at Perth Writers Festival prescribing great reads to children and their families. She has been a guest reviewer for Writing WA on their Cover-to-Cover program and has also promoted the CBCA through Behind the Books.
As the inaugural CBCA WA Branch representative Jan has supported The Paper Bird Fellowship which offers children’s writers and / or illustrators the opportunity to have a dedicated workspace for a 3-month period, 2 days/week. Jan is often asked to write in support of applications and has written fulsome and knowledgeable letters to State and Federal agencies for The Literature Centre’s funding applications. She has worked voluntarily at the Celebrate Reading National Conferences and the annual Australian Storytellers Festival and Open Galleries evenings at The Literature Centre. Jan is a fixture at book launches and literary events of all kinds, supporting local creators not only with her presence, but also often as a volunteer book launcher and photographer.
‘You’ve done so much for WA writers and illustrators, individually and collectively- a massive thank you for your incredible enthusiasm and energy.’ Deb Fitzpatrick, Author.
Jan promotes the Branch through newsletters, social media, the WA School Libraries Association, and the Western Australian Information Network and disseminates information to public libraries and educational sectors such as the WA Department of Education, the Catholic Education Commission, and the Association of Independent schools. The success of the CBCA Facebook page is largely due to Jan’s ongoing governance and her diligence in monitoring and sharing appropriate children’s literature posts. The ripple effect of Jan’s work has raised awareness of children’s literature across a broad spectrum that has reached thousands of people via the sharing of her posts.
‘Jan takes personal responsibility for sharing and boosting the social media presence of local creators via CBCA channels, tirelessly harvesting and promoting material on our behalf.’ Meg McKinlay, Author.
Jan actively supports WA regional events that promote children’s literature and has ensured that country-based CBCA members are able to enjoy a range of events, that in the past were only available to their city counterparts.
Jan has been a judge for the Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards and the Tim Winton Award for Young Writers several times. As a committee member of AISWA Libraries for 18 years, retiring in 2004, she held the roles of President, Secretary and Newsletter Editor.
Jan was a teacher librarian for almost 30 years at St Mary’s Anglican Girls’ School, WA where she inspired thousands of girls to develop a love of books. Jennifer Jackson, Director of Paper Bird, a former St Mary’s student describes Jan as ‘undeniably the most dedicated and hard-working advocate for children’s literature that I’m ever likely to meet’.
Jan’s outstanding service over many decades has helped professionals working across the children’s literature community and this, by extension, has provided valuable and wide-ranging support for younger readers. She is highly respected by colleagues and the public, including Dianne Wolfer (Author) who wrote, ‘Jan Nicholls you are a literacy superstar’. This appreciation was also expressed by Lesley Reece, Director, The Literature Centre, WA. who wrote, ‘Jan Nicholls is quite simply, a living treasure of the WA children’s and young adults (literature)scene. She reads the books, knows the authors and illustrators, supports all the various organisations devoted to promoting quality Australian children and young adult literature, and does all this with profound knowledge, confidence and an always present sense of humour and fun, passion, and, most of all, delightful warmth’.
Nan Chauncy Award Coordinator
Leanne Rands (Vic Branch)
Gail Spiers (WA Branch)
Geraldine Woolnough (Vic Branch)
Johanna Bell (NT Branch)