Nadia Wheatley proudly holds the position of official ambassador for Jannawi Family Centre. As a long-term resident of Sydney’s south west, Nadia has seen the value of the support that Jannawi delivers to the children and families of our culturally diverse community. She is honoured to be invited to speak on behalf of Jannawi’s young clients, who are often not in a position to talk publicly about the role that the agency plays in their lives.
Nadia’s professional life reflects the kind of commitment to human rights and social justice that is the essence of Jannawi Family Centre.
An Australian writer, her published work includes picture books, novels, biography, memoir and history, but she is perhaps best known for the classic picture book My Place (illustrated by Donna Rawlins), which powerfully expresses the sense of belonging that we all feel to the place we call home. Over the years since the book’s first publication in 1987, thousands of children have used it as a template for writing and illustrating their own My Place stories and maps. When Nadia did a Zoom webinar about the book during the 2021 Covid Lockdowns, over 9000 children watched it live from their homes.
Nadia’s work has been recognized many times in the awards of the Children’s Book Council of Australia, and in 2014 was nominated by the Australian section of the International Board on Books for Young People for the Hans Christian Andersen Award for Writing.
In the same year, the University of Sydney awarded her an Honorary Doctor of Letters in recognition of ‘her exceptional creative achievements in the field of children’s and adult literature, her work as an historian and her contribution to our understanding of Indigenous issues, cultural diversity, equity and social justice and the environment through story’.