Jan Hurst-Nicholson lives in sunny South Africa where she is personal chef to an elderly picky cat, and doorman to a dog that is forever on the wrong side of a door. The dog sits beside her as she works. The cat sleeps on the work.
She has been writing for about 30 years Her articles, humorous articles and short stories have appeared in South African and overseas magazines and these were compiled into a book: "Something to Read on the Plane - a bit of light literature, short stories & other fun stuff," and "I Made These Up (short stories for the fireside)"
Her first children’s book was "Leon Chameleon PI and the case of the missing canary eggs" published by Gecko Books, and was one of Bookchat’s 1993 South African Books of the Year. This was followed by "Leon Chameleon PI and the case of the kidnapped mouse" which was selected as one of the 2013 Kart Kids Book Award winners. ‘Leon Chameleon PI and the case of the bottled bat’ is awaiting publication. These are humorous, animal, detective stories set in a nature reserve.
"Bheki and the Magic Light", which tells of a bullied herd boy who becomes a hero, was published by Penguin SA and is now also available as an e-book.
‘Jake,’ was published by Cambridge University Press.
‘The Race (an inspiring story for left-handers)’ is her latest children’s book. It also has advice for parents and teachers.
Born in the UK, Jan emigrated from Liverpool to South Africa in the 1970s. Her experiences moving to a new continent were the inspiration for her humorous novel, "But Can You Drink The Water?' which was a semi-finalist (top 50 out of 5000) in the 2010 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.
Jan worked in the R&D department of a large bakery for several years, and this gave her the idea for "The Breadwinners" a family saga spanning 60 years and set in Durban.
Jan has also written a YA/teen novel, Mystery at Ocean Drive, which was a runner-up in the 2010 Citizen/Pan MacMillan YA novel award, and is now available as an e-book on Amazon.
Jan’s latest novel "With the Headmaster's Approval’ was the winner of the Chick lit/Women’s Lit category in the 2015 eFestival of Words.
Jan has also written a non-fiction book. “Would You Rather Be in the Coffin Than Give the Eulogy? – how to take the terror out of public speaking and advance your career and social network” Based on her 35-year involvement in public speaking training, and her experiences giving talks at numerous events and organisations, it is a step-by-step guide that is uniquely geared towards the average person who wants practical advice on every-day public speaking.
Jan’s writing also appears in Edge Words (20 stories from the Cheshire Prize for Literature 2006) published by University of Chester; Chicken Soup for the Caregiver's Soul and Chicken Soup for the Soul 101 best stories On Being a Parent; Summer Shorts; My Funny Major Medical and Tales2Inspire – the Crystal Collection.