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Sally Nicholls - Author

About the Author

I was born in Stockton-on-Tees, just after midnight, in a thunderstorm. My father died when I was two, and my brother Ian and I were brought up my mother. I always wanted to write - when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I used to say "I'm going to be a writer" - very definite.

I've always loved reading, and I spent most of my childhood trying to make real life as much like a book as possible. My friends and I had a secret club like the Secret Seven, and when I was nine I got most of my hair cut off because I wanted to look like George in the Famous Five. I was a real tomboy - I liked riding my bike, climbing trees and building dens in our garden. And I liked making up stories. I used to wander round my school playground at break, making up stories in my head.

I went to two secondary schools - a little Quaker school in North Yorkshire (where it was so cold that thick woolly jumpers were part of the school uniform) and a big comprehensive. I was very lonely at the little school, but I made friends at the comprehensive and got on all right. I didn't like being a teenager very much, though.

After school, I got to be an adult, which was fantastic. I went and worked in a Red Cross Hospital in Japan and then travelled around Australia and New Zealand. I jumped off bridges and tall buildings, climbed Mount Doom, wore a kimono and went to see a ballet in the Sydney Opera House. Then I came back and did a degree in Philosophy and Literature at Warwick. In my third year, realising with some panic that I was now supposed to earn a living, I enrolled in a masters in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa. It was here that I wrote Ways to Live Forever. I also won the prize for the writer with most potential, through which I got my agent. Four months later, I had a publisher.

I now live in a little house in Oxford, writing stories, and trying to believe my luck.

Photo credit Barrington Stoke website

Featured books by Sally Nicholls

Close Your Pretty Eyes

Close Your Pretty Eyes

11+ readers 13+ readers

Author: Sally Nicholls Format: Paperback Release Date: 07/11/2013

Award- winning Sally Nicholls tells a powerful and harrowing story of Olivia, a child so damaged by her fractured childhood that she seems irrevocably programmed to destroy the good things on offer to her. When Olivia is sent to live in her sixteenth home the chance of a new life opens up before her. Can she take it or, will she destroy it just as she has all the others? Sally Nicholls writes a powerful story capturing how a child can learn to trust – and love – again.

ebook of the month

Other books by Sally Nicholls

The Button Book

The Button Book

Author: Sally Nicholls Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/10/2019

Here's a button. I wonder what happens when you press it? From a singing button to a tickle button, from a rude sound button to a mysterious white button, there's only one way to find out what they do... A remarkable adventure powered purely by imagination, where the sounds, songs and play are completely up to you and whoever you're sharing this wonderful book with. This picture book will take you on a magical journey of colour, imagination, and play with a wind-down bedtime ending (unless you're asked to read it again).

All Fall Down

All Fall Down

Author: Sally Nicholls Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/09/2019

A deadly contagion races through England... Isabel and her family have nowhere to run from a disease that has killed half of Europe. When the world she knows and loves ends for ever, her only weapon is courage. The Black Death of 1349 was the deadliest plague in human history. All Fall Down is a powerful and inspiring story of survival in the face of real-life horror.

An Island of Our Own (2019 NE)

An Island of Our Own (2019 NE)

Author: Sally Nicholls Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/09/2019

From one of the brightest talents in children's fiction and the winner of the Waterstones Children's Book prize comes a new novel about family and friendship. Siblings Jonathan, Holly and Davy have been struggling to survive since the death of their mother, and are determined to avoid being taken into care. When the family's wealthy but eccentric Great-Aunt Irene has a stroke, they go to visit her. Unable to speak or write, she gives Holly some photographs that might lead them to an inheritance that could solve all their problems. But they're not the only ones after the treasure...

Ways to Live Forever (2019 NE)

Ways to Live Forever (2019 NE)

Author: Sally Nicholls Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/09/2019

My name is Sam. I am eleven years old. I collect stories and fantastic facts. By the time you read this, I will probably be dead. Sam loves facts. He wants to know about UFOs and horror movies and airships and ghosts and scientists, and how it feels to kiss a girl. And because he has leukaemia he wants to know the facts about dying. Sam needs answers to the questions nobody will answer. WAYS TO LIVE FOREVER is the first novel from an extraordinarily talented young writer. Funny and honest, it is one of the most powerful and uplifting books you will ever read.

A Chase In Time

A Chase In Time

Author: Sally Nicholls Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/08/2018

From multi-award-winning author Sally Nicholls, A Chase In Time is the first in a brilliant time-slip adventure series for 9+ readers, beautifully illustrated by Brett Hellquist. The old gilt-edged mirror has hung in Alex's aunt's house for as long as he can remember. Alex hardly notices it, until the day he and his sister are pulled through the mirror, back into 1912. It's the same house, but a very different place to live, and the people they meet need their help. Soon they're caught up in car chases and treasure hunts as they race to find a priceless golden cup - but will they ever be able to return to their own time?

The Great Telephone Mix-Up (Little Gem)

The Great Telephone Mix-Up (Little Gem)

Author: Sally Nicholls Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/04/2018

When the village wires get crossed after a storm, there's a lot of confusion and plenty of missed connections. Margaret can't run her summer fair, Jai can't speak to Aditi, and Will is rather happy because no one can tell his mum how much trouble he's in! Can the villagers learn to love their neighbours and could the great telephone mix-up really be a blessing in disguise? A charming, funny, family adventure bursting with wonderful characters.

Things a Bright Girl Can Do

Things a Bright Girl Can Do

Author: Sally Nicholls Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/02/2018

Shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal 2019, National Book Award, Books Are My Bag Readers' Awards and the YA Book Prize Through rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote. Evelyn is seventeen, and though she is rich and clever, she may never be allowed to follow her older brother to university. Enraged that she is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart rather than be educated, she joins the Suffragettes, and vows to pay the ultimate price for women's freedom. May is fifteen, and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. When she meets Nell, a girl who's grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit. Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women have their place. But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could believe. As war looms, just how much are they willing to sacrifice?

Things a Bright Girl Can Do

Things a Bright Girl Can Do

Author: Sally Nicholls Format: Hardback Release Date: 07/09/2017

Shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal 2019, National Book Award, Books Are My Bag Readers' Awards and the YA Book Prize Through rallies and marches, in polite drawing rooms and freezing prison cells and the poverty-stricken slums of the East End, three courageous young women join the fight for the vote. Evelyn is seventeen, and though she is rich and clever, she may never be allowed to follow her older brother to university. Enraged that she is expected to marry her childhood sweetheart rather than be educated, she joins the Suffragettes, and vows to pay the ultimate price for women's freedom. May is fifteen, and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. When she meets Nell, a girl who's grown up in hardship, she sees a kindred spirit. Together and in love, the two girls start to dream of a world where all kinds of women have their place. But the fight for freedom will challenge Evelyn, May and Nell more than they ever could believe. As war looms, just how much are they willing to sacrifice?

All About Ella

All About Ella

Author: Sally Nicholls Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 03/03/2017

Sam is sick, and Ella is sick of Sam. Life seems to revolve around his hospital appointments, his medication and his need for peace and quiet. No one thinks about what Ella wants or needs, no one cares. They don't even know what day she was born on. In the end, Ella decides she doesn't care if Sam gets sicker, but when it happens, she finds she cares an awful lot. A charming and heartfelt exploration of family love and the challenges of being a younger sibling. High quality cream paper and a special easy to read font ensure a smooth read for all.

Billy Button, Telegram Boy

Billy Button, Telegram Boy

Author: Sally Nicholls Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/07/2016

When Charlie the telegram boy breaks his leg and can't ride his bicycle, Billy Button sees his chance. He has always wanted to be a telegram boy, delivering messages all over the village on the red Post Office bicycle. Soon Billy is zooming about all over the place with news of new babies, sick sisters and sweethearts coming to visit. He even has a chance to put a few things right with a special 'extra' telegram or two...High quality cream paper and a special easy to read font ensure a smooth read for all.

Ways to Live Forever

Ways to Live Forever

Author: Sally Nicholls Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/04/2015

My name is Sam. I am eleven years old. I collect stories and fantastic facts. By the time you read this, I will probably be dead. Sam loves facts. He wants to know about UFOs and horror movies and airships and ghosts and scientists, and how it feels to kiss a girl. And because he has leukaemia he wants to know the facts about dying. Sam needs answers to the questions nobody will answer. WAYS TO LIVE FOREVER is the first novel from an extraordinarily talented young writer. Funny and honest, it is one of the most powerful and uplifting books you will ever read.

An Island of Our Own

An Island of Our Own

Author: Sally Nicholls Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 02/04/2015

From one of the brightest talents in children's fiction and the winner of the Waterstones Children's Book prize comes a new novel about family and friendship. Siblings Jonathan, Holly and Davy have been struggling to survive since the death of their mother, and are determined to avoid being taken into care. When the family's wealthy but eccentric Great-Aunt Irene has a stroke, they go to visit her. Unable to speak or write, she gives Holly some photographs that might lead them to an inheritance that could solve all their problems. But they're not the only ones after the treasure...

Shadow Girl

Shadow Girl

Author: Sally Nicholls Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 23/04/2014

A poignant story about foster care children with a supernatural twist, from the award-winning author of Ways to Live Forever. Clare knows she's at least partly to blame for her problems at school, but she's learned that it hurts to make friends when you're a foster kid and you'll just be moved on again. It's a relief to meet Maddy, who knows exactly what it's like to be in the system. But then Maddy disappears. Clare has opened her heart at last, and she can't let it go - will she find her friend? Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 12+

Close Your Pretty Eyes

Close Your Pretty Eyes

Author: Sally Nicholls Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/11/2013

A gripping psychological thriller from the author of the bestselling WAYS TO LIVE FOREVER. Eleven-year-old Olivia has been in care since she was five, and is just beginning her sixteenth placement. Her new home is a secluded farmhouse, centuries old, where she slowly bonds with her foster family. But the house holds dark secrets. Olivia discovers that it was once a notorious baby farm, where unwanted children were left to die. She becomes convinced that the place is haunted. She is desperate to save her new family from the ghosts. The danger is real - but does it come from the twisted mind of a very disturbed child? A powerful and thrilling story from one of today's most exciting young writers.

All Fall Down

All Fall Down

Author: Sally Nicholls Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/04/2013

A heartbreaking account of one of the most terrifying events in history - the outbreak of the Black Death in 1349. When Isabel's Yorkshire village is devastated by the Black Death, it seems that the world is ending in horror and fear. But for the survivors of the terrible plague, a new and freer society will rise from the destruction of the feudal system that enslaved her family. A powerful historical novel from one of today's most exciting young writers.

A Lily, A Rose

A Lily, A Rose

Author: Sally Nicholls Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 12/03/2013

Beautiful romance from an award-winning author. Lady Elinor of Hardford has fallen in love for the first time, with Dan, her cousin and knight-in-training. But her father has other plans. She must marry his friend, Sir William of Courtney - and he's nearly 50! Ellie must draw on all her skills to work out a solution to her dilemma. Can she change her father's mind? And will she ever get to marry Dan? An uplifting romance. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers of 12+

All Fall Down

All Fall Down

Author: Sally Nicholls Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/03/2012

When Isabel's Yorkshire village is devastated by the Black Death, it seems that the world is ending in horror and fear. But for the survivors of the terrible plague, a new and freer society will rise from the destruction of the feudal system that enslaved her family. A powerful historical novel from one of today's most exciting young writers.

Ways to Live Forever

Ways to Live Forever

Author: Sally Nicholls Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/03/2012

My name is Sam. I am eleven years old. I collect stories and fantastic facts. By the time you read this, I will probably be dead. Sam loves facts. He wants to know about UFOs and horror movies and airships and ghosts and scientists, and how it feels to kiss a girl. And because he has leukaemia he wants to know the facts about dying. Sam needs answers to the questions nobody will answer. Ways to Live Forever is the first novel from an extraordinarily talented young writer. Funny and honest, it is one of the most powerful and uplifting books you will ever read.

Season of Secrets

Season of Secrets

Author: Sally Nicholls Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 04/01/2010

On a wild and stormy night, Molly runs away from her grandparent's house. Her dad has sent her to live there until he Sorts Thing Out at home. In the howling darkness, Molly sees a desperate figure running for his life from a terrifying midnight hunt. He has come to help her. But why? And who is he? Season of Secrets weaves the tale of a heartbroken child and an age-old legend into a haunting story of love, healing and strange magic. 'A cracking book - Jacqueline Wilson. 'Poignant and gripping' - The Bookseller . Sally Nicholls was named Glen Dimplex New Writer of the Year. Her first book Ways to Live Forever won numerous awards including te Waterstone's Children's Book Prize and the North East Book Award. It was shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award and longlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal.

Season of Secrets

Season of Secrets

Author: Sally Nicholls Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 06/04/2009

In a wild winter storm, Molly sees a desperate figure running for his life. She discovers an injured man. But who is he? And why has he come to help her? Sally Nicholls' second novel weaves legends of pagan gods and a family coping with tragedy into a haunting story of love and loss that will touch readers' hearts - like her award-winning Ways to Live Forever .

Ways to Live Forever

Ways to Live Forever

Author: Sally Nicholls Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 01/09/2008

My name is Sam. I am eleven years old. I collect stories and fantastic facts. By the time you read this, I will probably be dead. Sam loves facts. He wants to know about UFOs and horror movies and airships and ghosts and scientists, and how it feels to kiss a girl. And because he has leukemia he wants to know the facts about dying. Sam needs answers to the questions nobody will answer. Ways to Live Foreover is the award-winning novel from an extraordinarily talented young writer. Funny and honest, it is one of the most powerful and uplifting books you will ever read.

Ways to Live Forever

Ways to Live Forever

Author: Sally Nicholls Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 07/01/2008

My name is Sam. I am eleven years old. I collect stories and fantastic facts. By the time you read this, I will probably be dead. Sam loves facts. He wants to know about UFOs and horror movies and airships and ghosts and scientists, and how it feels to kiss a girl. And because he has leukaemia he wants to know the facts about dying. Sam needs answers to the questions nobody will answer. Ways To Live Forever is the first novel from an extraordinarily talented young writer. Funny and honest, it is one of the most powerful and uplifting books you will ever read.

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