Biography - John Nichols
John Nichols age 11

         Grandpa married Cornelia Floyd, a direct descendant of William Floyd, who signed the Declaration of Independence for New York State. My father, David G. Nichols, was born in 1916 at the old William Floyd estate (in Mastic on the south shore of Long Island 60 miles east of New York City) which my family eventually donated to the National Park Service as an historical museum and wildlife refuge. You can look up the William Floyd Estate on the Internet.

        My dad's sister, Mollie Weld, was the mother of my first cousin, William Weld, who became the governor of Massachusetts. So my American family likes to brag about William Floyd and William Weld. And who can blame them?

        After I was born in Berkeley, we moved around a lot. My dad got married and divorced a few more times. I have lived in Miami, Florida; Montpelier, Vermont; Westbury (Long Island), New York; Berkeley again; Wilton, Connecticut; Herndon, Virginia; Washington, D.C.; Windsor, Connecticut;  Clinton, New York (where I attended Hamilton College); Barcelona, Spain; and New York City. I speak illiterate French and illiterate Spanish and illiterate English.

        In 1969 I moved with my family from New York to northern New Mexico, and have lived there ever since. This area has been the setting for almost all of my books. Much of my work has dealt with struggles for human justice, land and water rights issues, the clash between Chicano, Native American, and Anglo cultures. My stuff is often polemical, usually comic. Laugh and the world laughs with us; weep and we weep alone.

        During my screenplay career from 1980 to a little after 2000, I did three political scripts (only Missing got made) for the Greek director, Costa-Gavras; The Milagro Beanfield War for Robert Redford; I worked on two films (one about Kayapo Indian struggles in the Amazon) for Ridley Scott that were never produced; a Warner Brothers movie for Karel Reisz (dealing with Haitian refugees) that went into turn-around; a mini-series for CBS about the life of Pancho Villa (that couldn't get off the drawing board); several (unsuccessful) drafts of my novel American Blood for Laray Mayfield; a sequal to Midnight Express (never produced) that occupied me for six years; plus a screenplay about Che Guevara that I did for Peter Davis and Bill Panzer (of Highlander movie and TV series fame) that died aborning because nobody except me could deal with the Marxist-Leninist politics.

             These days, I'm a Barack Obama fan. I'll hit 72 in July 2012. In August 2012 I'll publish my twentieth book, a novel called On Top Of Spoon Mountain. (Order it from your bookstore or from the university of New Mexico Press in Albuquerque.)  It took only 12 years and a hundred drafts to write and it's not even War and Peace. In fact,  It's barely Breakfast at Tiffany's (I wish). But you can not accuse me of not being a worker bee. Put that on my tombstone: He Was a Worker Bee.

And do the right thing in November, vote Obama. Santa Claus is watching you. I myself refuse to become a cynical old man.


        I was born on July 23, 1940 in Berkeley, California. My mother, Monique Robert, was French, and partially raised in Barcelona, Spain. She died in 1942, at age 27. Her grandfather (my maternal great-grandad), Anatole Le Braz, was a noted writer and folklorist from Brittany (in the north of France) whose books are still in print over there.

        Monique's first cousin, Laura Bouchage, one of Anatole's other granddaughters, married an American, Ralph Weymouth, and they are the parents of Tina Weymouth, who became bass player for Talking Heads. My French side of the family loves to brag about Anatole Le Braz and Tina Weymouth. Who can blame them?

        My paternal grandfather and namesake, John Treadwell Nichols, was a well-known naturalist who for many years reigned as Curator of Recent Fishes at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. He wrote several books on fish and hundreds of nature articles. He founded Copeia, the magazine of the American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (ASIH), in 1913.

The Author at 11, ready for Wimbledon

© Copyright John Nichols 2012