Grace Nichols was born in Georgetown, Guyana, in 1950 and grew up in a small country village on the coast. A move to the city with her family when she was eight greatly influenced her first novel, Whole of a Morning Sky (1986), a story set in 1960s Guyana amidst the country's struggle for independence.
As well as working as a teacher and journalist, she also spent time in remote areas of Guyana as part of a Diploma in Communications at the University of Guyana. This period shaped her writings and sparked her interest in Guyanese folk tales, Amerindian myths and the South American civilisations of the Aztec and Inca. She has lived in the UK since 1977.
Her first poetry collection, I is a Long-Memoried Woman (1983), won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize. The book was subsequently dramatised for radio by the BBC, and adapted for film, winning a gold medal at the International Film and Television Festival New York.
She also writes books for children, including Come on into My Tropical Garden (1988), and Everybody Got A Gift (2005) which includes new and selected poems. Her two new children's books, Cosmic Disco and Sun Time, Snow Time were released in August 2013.