NAN CHAUNCY was born Nancen Beryl Masterman in England in 1900. She moved with her family to Tasmania when she was twelve, to Bagdad, north of Hobart.
Nan grew up surrounded by the bush that would inspire her writing. Her love of the outdoors led to a lifelong association with the Australian Girl Guides. She returned to the UK in her early thirties and lived for a time on a houseboat on the Thames. She travelled in northern Europe and taught English at a Girl Guide school in Denmark.
On the voyage back to Australia in 1938 Nan met Helmut Anton Rosenfeld. They changed their name to Chauncy soon after marrying and lived in the family cottage at Bagdad, turning the property into a wildlife sanctuary, Chauncy Vale. Nan worked as a scriptwriter for the ABC and they had a daughter, Heather.
In 1947 Nan published her first novel, They Found a Cave, set in the hills around Bagdad. She published a further thirteen books, including Tiger in the Bush, Devil’s Hill and Tangara, which were awarded CBCA Book of the Year in 1958, ’59, and ’61. Her works demonstrate her respect for the environment, and her fresh style marked the beginning of shift towards a greater realism in Australian children’s novels.
Nan Chauncy was the first Australian writer to be awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Diploma of Merit, and the CBCA presents the biennial Nan Chauncy Award in her honour. She died at Chauncy Vale in 1970.