Nadia began writing fiction in 1976, after completing postgraduate work in Australian history. Her published work includes picture books, novels for younger readers, young adult novels, short stories, (for adults as well as for young adults). She has also written for television and the theatre.
Her first book, Five Times Dizzy, received the New South Wales Premier's Special Children's Book Award in 1983 and was Highly Commended in the Children's Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Awards. It was later produced as a twelve-part television series, with a script by Nadia Wheatley and Terry Larsen.
My Place (produced in collaboration with illustrator Donna Rawlins) was the CBCA Book of the Year for Younger Readers in 1988. It also won the inaugural Eve Pownall Award (1988) for non-fiction, as well as children's choice awards and international award listings. Set on the Cooks River, it is a study of the history of the inner west area of Sydney over the last two centuries, and is particularly concerned with issues of the environment and multiculturalism.
Nadia Wheatley's books for young adults include the short story collection The Night Tolkien died (an Honour Book in the 1995 CBCA Awards) and The Blooding, currently on the VCE English syllabus). The House that was Eureka draws upon the anti-eviction battles that occurred in many Sydney suburbs during the Great Depression, and also deals with the issue of contemporary youth unemployment. This novel was shortlisted for the Vogel prize, and in 1985 won the New South Wales Premier's Children's Book Award and was an Honour Book in the CBCA awards. Nadia is currently rewriting parts of the novel, for a new edition which will come out early next year.
Nadia Wheatley's novels for younger readers include Lucy in the Leap Year, illustrated by Ken Searle. This was an Honour Book in the 1994 CBCA Awards and was also shortlisted for the NSW Ministry for the Arts Award and the Multicultural Award.
Nadia Wheatley's picture books are suitable for older readers as well as young children. Her picture book texts include The Greatest Treasure of Charlemagne the King, (illustrated by Deborah Klein) and Luke's Way of Looking (illustrated by Matt Ottley).
Highway (illustrated by Andrew McLean) received an Honour Book award in the Children's Book Council of Awards for 1999.
She wrote a biography of Charmian Clift in 2002 which won that year's Premier's reading challenge at the New South Wales Premier's History Awards. In 2006 she was the University of Canberra's May Gibbs Fellow.
- Adelaide, Debra (1988) Australian Women Writers: A Bibliographic Guide, London, Pandora