Nicolette JonesWriter, Critic and Broadcaster
Nicolette Jones, writer, literary critic and broadcaster, has been the children’s books reviewer of the Sunday Times for more than two decades. A Royal Literary Fund Fellow (formerly at UCL and at Kings College London), and a nominee for the 2012 Eleanor Farjeon Award for outstanding service to the world of children’s books.
She is an experienced book prize judge and a professional chair of literary events. Interviewees have included Margaret Atwood, Joan Bakewell, Vince Cable, Richard Ford, Maggi Hambling, Elizabeth Jane Howard, John Humphrys, Erica Jong, Judith Kerr, Michael Morpurgo, Salman Rushdie.
Her book The Plimsoll Sensation: The Great Campaign to Save Lives at Sea (Little, Brown/Abacus) was a Radio 4 Book of the Week and won two maritime literature prizes, and she instigated now regular commemorations of Samuel Plimsoll in Folkestone. Other writing includes Blooming Books (Cape) about the author/illustrator Raymond Briggs, and she has worked with The Sunday Times and Channel Four on multimedia children’s book supplements and selections.
During the Sunday Times’s sponsorship of the Oxford Literary Festival, she was Director of the Festival’s children’s programme.
Originally from Leeds, she studied at Oxford University, and at Yale as a Henry Fellow. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, a signatory to Authors4Oceans, an honorary member of the Royal Naval Reserve Officers’ Dining Club and involved in a number of literary, charitable and social initiatives. She is married to fellow writer and journalist Nicholas Clee, and they have two daughters. She lives in London, where she is known as a local community activist and sees a lot of theatre.
Committees and Panels
Nicolette Jones Recommends: Sunday Times Video Series
Authors and Illustrators interviewed by Nicolette
Testimonials about Nicolette's Chairing
With Nicolette, I know I’m in a safe pair of hands. She’s always thoroughly prepared, her questions are thoughtful and it’s never all about her. There’s nobody I prefer to work with on stage.
Nicolette is just what both speakers and audiences hope for: she does her homework, keeps the conversation relaxed but focused, and balances among speakers and audience members judiciously.
Nicolette doesn’t just bring out the best in her speakers; she somehow also manages to bring out the best in the audience as well, and that enriches the event for everyone.
Nicolette has always struck me as being an ideal chair—she is fair, well informed, good-humoured, and she has an easy rapport with audiences large or small.
Whenever I do an event, I’m glad if Nicolette is in the chair. She is always informed, articulate and authoritative. Audiences love her.
Nicolette Jones is the finest event chair I’ve encountered: intellectually rigorous, witty, and self-effacing enough to let her subjects reveal themselves, yet always prepared with questions that tease out the difficult issues.
Nicolette is one of the best-prepared, most poised chairpersons I’ve ever had. And funny! But not too funny. Because, you know, it’s my panel.
Prizes and Awards
Prizes and Awards
- 1989 Runner-up for the Catherine Pakenham Award for the outstanding woman journalist under the age of thirty
- 2003 Blooming Books nominated for British Book Awards Illustrated Book of the Year
- 2006 Mountbatten Maritime Prize for The Plimsoll Sensation
- 2007 International Winner, US Maritime Literature Awards for The Plimsoll Sensation
- 2012 Nominated for the Eleanor Farjeon Award for distinguished service to the world of children’s books
- Henry Fellowship, Yale University (taken up)
- Frank Knox Fellowship, Harvard University
- Thouron Award, University of Pennsylvania
- Violet Vaughan Morgan Prize for English Literature (Oxford University)
- Agnes Leys Scholarship (St Hilda’s College)
Nicolette Jones also had a hand in encouraging the efforts that earned these awards:
- 2015 Islington in Bloom Best Street Award to Plimsoll Road
- 2015 London in Bloom Certificate of Excellence for the Blackstock Triangle Gardeners
- 2014 Islington in Bloom Best Small Neighbourhood Award and Gold Award for the Blackstock Triangle Gardeners
- 2014 Commendation in the Cultivation Street awards for the Blackstock Triangle Gardeners
- 2011 Islington in Bloom Silver Gilt award for the streets of the Blackstock Triangle
- 2010 Islington in Bloom Second Prize for Best Street for Plimsoll Road, Ambler Road and Prah Road
- 2009 Islington Mayor’s Civic Award for the Neighbours of the Blackstock Road Triangle
- 2009 Islington in Bloom Special Award for Community Participation for Plimsoll Road and Ambler Road