Barbara Nickel

About the Author


Barbara Nickel grew up in Saskatchewan and attended Goshen College in Indiana, where she studied music (violin) and English literature. She received an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, where she also taught. Barbara writes for adults and young people. Her poetry for adults has been published in many anthologies and magazines, including The Walrus, Poetry Ireland Review, and Best Canadian Poetry 2021, and is featured on BC’s Poetry in Transit 2021/22. One of her poetry collections, The Gladys Elegies, received the Pat Lowther Award. Her children’s titles include Hannah Waters and the Daughter of Johann Sebastian Bach, which won a B.C. and Yukon Book Prize and was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award, as well as a picture book, A Boy Asked the Wind, which was a finalist for the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award. Her third poetry collection, Essential Tremor, was released by Caitlin Press in April, 2021. A children’s novel, Dear Peter, Dear Ulla, was a finalist for the 2022 B.C. and Yukon Book Prizes and the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People. It has been shortlisted for the 2023 Manitoba Young Readers Choice Awards, the Rocky Mountain Book Award, and is the winner of the 2022 High Plains Book Award. Barbara lives in Yarrow, British Columbia with her husband and two sons.


Barbara’s poem “Three-in-One,” originally published in Grain Magazine, has been selected by guest editor Bardia Sinaee to appear in Best Canadian Poetry 2024 (Biblioasis).

Check out Barbara’s 45-minute teaching video on Creating Believable Characters for the BC and Yukon Book Prizes’ In Class video library.

Dear Peter, Dear Ulla was a finalist for the 2022 Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People.

Dear Peter, Dear Ulla was announced as the winner of the 2022 High Plains Book Award. Barbara received the award at Montana State University in Billings, Montana on October 8, 2022.

Dear Peter, Dear Ulla has been nominated for the 2023 Rocky Mountain Book Award (Alberta Young Readers Choice Award).

The Manitoba Young Readers Choice Awards (MYRCA) has nominated Dear Peter, Dear Ulla as a 2023 Northern Lights (Grades 7-9) finalist!

Essential Tremor reviewed in The Vancouver Sun. Read full review here.

Dear Peter, Dear Ulla is reviewed and “Highly Recommended” in CM (Canadian Review of Materials)! Read the full review here.

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Author Visits

Interested in booking Barbara to visit your school or library? Choose from a wide range of presentations, from poetry workshops to readings of historical fiction.

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