Nichols was born in Georgetown, Guyana, in 1950. After working in Guyana as a teacher and journalist, she emigrated to the United Kingdom in 1977. Much of her poetry is characterised by Caribbean rhythms and culture, and influenced by Guyanese and Amerindian folklore.
She has written several books of poetry and a novel for adults, Whole of a Morning Sky (1986). Her books for children include collections of short stories and poetry anthologies. Her latest work, of new and selected poems, is Startling the Flying Fish, 2006.
Her poetry is featured in the AQA, WJEC (Welsh Joint Education Committee), and Edexcel English/English Literature GCSE anthologies - meaning that many GCSE students in the UK have studied her work. Her religion is Christianity after she was influenced by the UK's many religions and multi-cultural society.
- 1983: Commonwealth Poetry Prize I is a Long Memoried Woman
- 1986: Arts Council Writers' Award
- 1996: Guyana Poetry Prize Sunris
- 2001: Cholmondeley Award
- 2007: Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature 
- I is a Long-Memoried Woman. London: Caribbean Cultural International, 1983.
- The Fat Black Woman's Poems. London: Virago, 1984.
- A Dangerous Knowing: Four Black women poets (Barbara Burford, Gabriela Pearse, Grace Nichols, & Jackie Kay). London: Sheba Feminist Publishers, 1984.
- Lazy Thoughts of a Lazy Woman, and other poems. London: Virago, 1989.
- Sunris. London: Virago, 1996.
- Penguin Modern Poets 8 (by Jackie Kay, Merle Collins, & Grace Nichols). London & New York: Penguin, 1996.
- I Have Crossed an Ocean: Selected poems. Tarset, Northumberland, UK: Bloodaxe, 2000.
- Paint Me a Poem: New poems inspired by art in the Tate. London: A. & C. Black, 2004.
- Startling the Flying Fish. London: Virago, 2005.
- Picasso, I Want My Face Back. Tarset, Northumberland, UK: Bloodaxe, 2009.
- I Have Crossed an Ocean: Selected poems. Tarset, Northumberland, UK: Bloodaxe, 2010.
- Whole of a Morning Sky. London: Virago, 1986.
- Here and Somewhere Else: Stories and poems (with Robert Nichols). New York: Feminist Press, 2007.
- Trust You, Wriggly! London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1981.
- Leslyn in London. London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1984.
- The Discovery. London: Macmillan, 1986.
- Come on into My Tropical Garden: Poems for children (illustrated by Caroline Binch). London: A. & C. Black, 1988; New York: Lippincott, 1990.
- Poetry Jump-up (illustrated by Michael Lewis). London: Puffin, 1990.
- Give Yourself a Hug (illustrated by Kim Harley). London: Puffin, 1994.
- Asana and the Animals: A book of pet poems (illustrated by Sarah Adams). Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 1997. London: Walker, 1997.
- The Poet Cat (illustrated by Bee Wiley). London: Bloomsbury, 2000.
- Everybody God a Gift: New and selected poems. London: A. & C. Black, 2005.
- Tiger Dead! Tiger Dead! Stories from the Caribbean (with John Agard; illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura). London: Collins, 2009.
- Grace Nichols: Collected poems / James Carter: Collected poems. Harlow, UK: Heinemann, 2009.
- No, Baby, No! (illustrated by Eleanor Taylor). London: Bloomsbury, 2012.
- published in U.S. as Whoa, Baby, Whoa! (illustrated by Eleanor Taylor). New York: Bloomsbury, 2012.
- Sun Time, Snow Time. London: A. & C. Black, 2013.
- Cosmic Disco (illustrated by Caroline Birch). London: Frances Lincoln, 2013.
- Baby Fish, and other stories from village to rainforest. London: Islington Community Press, 1983.
- Black Poetry. London: Blackie, 1988.
- Can I Buy a Slice of Sky? Poems from Black, Asian, and American Indian cultures. London: Knight, 1993.
- No Hickory, No Dickory, No Dock: Caribbean nursery rhymes (edited with John Agard; illustrated by Cynthia Jabar). London: Viking, 1995; Cambridge, MA: Candlewick, 1995.
- Under the Moon and Over the Sea: A collection of Caribbean poems (edited with John Agard). London: Walker, 2002; Cambridge, MA: Candewick, 2002.
- Pumpkin Grumpkin: Nonsense poems from around the world (edited with John Agard; illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura). London: Walker, 2011.
- 'Grace Nichols', 'Writers and Their Work' Series, Sarah Lawson Welsh (Northcote Press & the British Council: 2007
- Dawes, Kwame Senu Neville (2001). Talk yuh talk: interviews with Anglophone Caribbean poets. University of Virginia Press. p. 135. ISBN 0813919460, 9780813919461. http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=YBkWXcsoN5sC&pg=PA135&dq=%22John+Agard%22+%22grace+nichols%22&lr=&ei=n_MLTJ3oJKiwyQT-7uzdCA&hl=ko&cd=16#v=onepage&q=%22John%20Agard%22%20%22grace%20nichols%22&f=false. Retrieved 2010-06-06.
- "Royal Society of Literature All Fellows". Royal Society of Literature. http://www.rslit.org/content/fellows. Retrieved 10 August 2010.
- Search results = au:Grace Nichols, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Dec. 27, 2014.
- Audio / video
- Grace Nichols in Gale Biography of Children's Authors.
- Grace Nichols at the British Council
- Grace Nichols (1950-) at AQA
- Grace Nichols at Black British Women Writers
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