22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Sally Nicholls

Portrait Sally Nicholls
© Rottkay

Sally Nicholls was born in Stockton-on-Tees, England in 1983. After school, she worked in a hospital in Japan and travelled around Australia and New Zealand. She then studied literature and philosophy at Warwick before moving to Bath.

She wrote her debut novel »Ways to Live Forever« (2008) in a writing seminar. It is about the 11-year-old Sam who has cancer. When his best friend dies, he decides to entrust his thoughts to a diary. He writes about UFOs, horror films, and girls. Above all, he writes about the questions that nobody answers. As the medication remains ineffective, Sam finally stops taking it and only does what feels good. Surrounded by his family, he dies a peaceful, painless death. Nicholls deals with the topic openly, does not avoid any questions, abstains from any sentimentality, and adopts the unbiased narrative of a child. The novel was nominated for the German Children’s Literature Award in 2009, was awarded the Waterstone Children’s Book Prize and the annual LUCHS, was translated into 18 languages, and filmed in 2010. The German audio version won the German Audiobook Prize in 2010. Nichollsʼ second book, »Season of Secrets« (2009), also deals with death. A girl loses her mother and moves in with her grandparents in the village, which proves to be a difficult transition. Molly takes refuge in a fantasy world with a man who bears a striking resemblance to the oak king of local legend. »All Fall Down« (2012) takes place in 1349. Nicholls combines carefully researched historical facts with the detailed milieu of a family in Central England, whose village is ravaged by the plague. Fourteen-year-old Isabel realizes that piety and isolation are no salvation, mobilizes her inner strength, and resolutely opposes panic. This was followed by Nicholls’s youth novel »Close Your Pretty Eyes« in 2013. The story tells of a girl who has already met many foster families but could never establish trust. After the release of »An Island of Our Own« (2015), Nicholls’s most recent work »Things a Bright Girl Can Do« (2017) was published. This historical novel, which takes place in England between 1914 and 1918, focuses on three young women from the Suffragette movement who, at the beginning of the war, are faced with the question of how much of their life they are willing to sacrifice. The Times praised the novel, which was nominated for the Carnegie Medal 2019, by stating that »Nicholls has brought alive the young women of the past to empower the next generation«.

The author lives in Oxford.


Watch Sally Nicholls’ opening speech at the 20. ilb on our Youtube-Channel: https://youtu.be/47KFycz1iPY