Margaret Mahy

Margaret Mahy ONZ (21 March 1936 – 23 July 2012) was a New Zealand author of children's and young adult books. Many of her story plots have strong supernatural elements but her writing concentrates on the themes of human relationships and growing up. She wrote more than 100 picture books, 40 novels and 20 collections of short stories. At her death she was one of thirty writers to win the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Medal for her "lasting contribution to children's literature".[1][2]

Margaret Mahy

Mahy, with her characteristic rainbow wig,
at the Kaiapoi Club, July 2011
Born(1936-03-21)21 March 1936
Whakatane, New Zealand
Died23 July 2012(2012-07-23) (aged 76)
Christchurch, New Zealand
OccupationWriter, librarian
LanguageEnglish
Period1969–2012
GenreChildren's picture books, supernatural fiction
Notable works
Notable awardsCarnegie Medal
1982, 1984
Hans Christian Andersen Award for Writing
2006

Mahy won the annual Carnegie Medal twice. It recognises the year's best children's book by a British subject, and she won for both The Haunting (1982) and The Changeover (1984).[3][4] (As of 2012 just seven writers have won two Carnegies, none three.) She was also a highly commended runner up for Memory (1987).[5][lower-alpha 1]

Among her children's books, A Lion in the Meadow and The Seven Chinese Brothers and The Man Whose Mother was a Pirate are considered national classics.[6] Her novels have been translated into Te Reo Māori, German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Italian, Japanese, Catalan and Afrikaans. In addition, some stories have been translated into Russian, Chinese and Icelandic.[7]

The Margaret Mahy Playground in the Christchurch Central City is named in her honour.[8]


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