Margaret Mahy

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Margaret Mahy
Margaret Mahy at the Kaiapoi Club, 27 July 2011, smiling (digitally altered).jpg
Mahy, with her characteristic rainbow wig,
at the Kaiapoi Club, July 2011
Born (1936-03-21)21 March 1936
Whakatane, New Zealand
Died 23 July 2012(2012-07-23) (aged 76)
Christchurch, New Zealand
Occupation Writer, librarian
Period 1969–2012
Genres Children's picture books, supernatural fiction
Notable work(s)
Notable award(s) Carnegie Medal
1982, 1984
Hans Christian Andersen Award for Writing
2006

library.christchurch.org.nz/MargaretMahy/

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]

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

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. Her novels have been translated into 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.[citation needed]

Early life[edit]

Mahy was born in 1936, the eldest of five children.[6] She was raised in her birthplace of Whakatane. Her father was a bridge builder and often told his children adventure stories which later influenced Mahy's writing. Her mother was a teacher. Her first published story was "Harry is Bad", written at age seven. She showed it to her class to let them know that they could write stories at any age.

She went to the local high school, where she was acknowledged as a talented swimmer.[7]

Education[edit]

Mahy completed her B.A. at Auckland University College (1952–1954) and Canterbury University College, graduating in 1955. In 1956 she trained at the New Zealand Library School, Wellington as a librarian.[8]

Career[edit]

Bronze bust of Margaret Mahy, part of the Twelve Local Heroes sculpture

She worked as a librarian in Petone, the School Library Service in Christchurch, and in 1976 was appointed Children's Librarian at Canterbury Public Library. During this time many of her stories were published in the New Zealand Department of Education School Journal and her first book saw her become known internationally.[6] A Lion in the Meadow was a School Journal story from 1965. It was published in 1969 by J.M. Dent in the U.K. and Franklin Watts in the U.S., as a large-format picture book illustrated by Jenny Williams.[9] Also in 1969, William Heinemann Ltd and Watts published another large-format picture book, The Dragon of an Ordinary Family with illustrations by Helen Oxenbury, who won the Greenaway Medal from the British librarians recognising the year's best illustrated children's book. There were three others in that same year.[b]

Mahy wrote several fantasy novels, including The Haunting and The Changeover.[10]

Mahy became a full-time writer in 1980 and went on to win numerous book awards and honours for her contributions to New Zealand and to children's literature. One was an honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of Canterbury.[11] In 1985 she established the Margaret Mahy Fees Scholarship at the University of Canterbury.[12]

For her contributions to children's literature she was made a member of the Order of New Zealand. The Margaret Mahy Medal Award was established by the New Zealand Children's Book Foundation in 1991 to provide recognition of excellence in children's literature, publishing and literacy in New Zealand. In March 2009 she was commemorated as one of the Twelve Local Heroes and a bronze bust of her was unveiled outside the Christchurch Arts Centre.[13]

In 2010 the adaptation of her book Kaitangata Twitch as a television series aired on Maori Television. Directed by Yvonne Mackay and produced by The Production Shed.TV, the series includes a cameo appearance by Margaret Mahy in a library scene.[14]

Works[edit]

Mahy wrote more than 100 picture books, 40 novels and 20 collections of short stories.[15]

Awards[edit]

Mahy and her winning book The Moon & Farmer McPhee at the 2011 New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards

The biennial Hans Christian Andersen Award conferred by the International Board on Books for Young People is the highest recognition available to a writer or illustrator of children's books. Mahy received the writing award in 2006.[1][2] Jury president Jeffrey Garrett wrote in the press release:

In awarding the 2006 Hans Christian Andersen Medal for Writing to Margaret Mahy, the jury has recognized one of the world's most original re-inventors of language. Mahy's language is rich in poetic imagery, magic, and supernatural elements. Her oeuvre provides a vast, numinous, but intensely personal metaphorical arena for the expression and experience of childhood and adolescence. Equally important, however, are her rhymes and poems for children. Mahy's works are known to children and young adults all over the world.[16]

Mahy won the Carnegie Medal in 1982 for The Haunting.[3] In 1984 she won the medal again for The Changeover.[4]

The Margaret Mahy Award, named for Mahy, is presented annually to "a person who has made a significant contribution to the broad field of children's literature and literacy".[17] Mahy was the first recipient of the award in 1991.[17][18] Lectures by the winners are published, the standard of which was set by Mahy's inaugural lecture, Surprising Moments.[17]

In 2013, the top prize for young adult fiction at the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards was renamed the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year award.[19]

Some other awards:

The Phoenix Award from the Children's Literature Association designates the best English-language children's book that did not win a major award when it was originally published twenty years earlier. It is named for the mythical bird phoenix, which is reborn from its ashes, to suggest the book's rise from obscurity. Mahy is one of three authors to win it twice (1985 to 2012).[23]

Personal life[edit]

Mahy lived at Governors Bay on the Banks Peninsula, Canterbury, in the South Island of New Zealand. She was a solo mother and raised two daughters there.[26]

Mahy died in Christchurch on 23 July 2012, aged 76.[6][8][26][27][28][29] She had been diagnosed with an inoperable cancerous jaw tumour in April 2012 and had been moved to a hospice about nine days before her death.[28]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Today there are usually eight books on the Carnegie shortlist. CCSU lists 32 "Highly Commended" runners up from 1966 to 2002 but only three before 1979 when the distinction became approximately annual. From 1979 there were 29 "HC" books in 24 years including Mahy alone in 1987.
  2. ^ U.S. Library of Congress catalogue records cover ten 1969 books written by Mahy, all evidently large-format picture books (22/23cm x 28/29cm, 26pp to 42pp). They are the British and American editions of five titles with five illustrators and three British publishers, all published by Watts in the U.S.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Hans Christian Andersen Awards" (top page). International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). Retrieved 20 August 2012.
  2. ^ a b "2006". Hans Christian Andersen Awards. IBBY. With presentation speech by jury president Jeffrey Garrett (21 September 2006) and other contemporary material. Acceptance speeches for 2006 are missing. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  3. ^ a b (Carnegie Winner 1982). Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  4. ^ a b (Carnegie Winner 1984). Living Archive: Celebrating the Carnegie and Greenaway Winners. CILIP. Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  5. ^ "Carnegie Medal Award". 2007(?). Curriculum Lab. Elihu Burritt Library. Central Connecticut State University (CCSU). Retrieved 12 July 2012.
  6. ^ a b c "Author Margaret Mahy dead at 76". The New Zealand Herald (nzherald.co.nz). 23 July 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  7. ^ Samdog Design Ltd. "New Zealand Book Council Biography". Bookcouncil.org.nz. Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  8. ^ a b "Margaret Mahy, a biography". The Margaret Mahy Pages. Christchurch City Libraries (library.christchurch.org.nz). 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  9. ^ The 1965 version, with pictures by Jill McDonaldlink, may have been separately published in a School Journal series by the Department of Education.
    "Formats and Editions of The lion in the meadow". WorldCat. Retrieved 7 March 2013.
  10. ^ Mary Corran, "Mahy, Margaret" in St. James Guide To Fantasy Writers, ed. David Pringle, London, St. James Press, 1996, ISBN 1-55862-205-5, (pp. 383-5).
  11. ^ "Margaret Mahy". Penguin Canada Books Inc. (penguin.ca). Early 2000s. Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  12. ^ "Undergraduate scholarships at Canterbury". Canterbury.ac.nz. Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  13. ^ Hartevelt, John (19 March 2009). "Creative mistake for a creative writer". The Press. Retrieved 19 October 2011. 
  14. ^ "Kaitangata Twitch". Website dedicated to the screen adaptation. Production Shed TV (kaitangatatwitch.co.nz). 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  15. ^ "Mahy bibliography at fantasticfiction". Fantasticfiction.co.uk. 2012-07-23. Retrieved 2012-09-04. 
  16. ^ Garrett, Jeffrey (27 March 2006). "IBBY Announces the Winners of the Hans Christian Andersen Awards 2006" (Press release). Zurich, Switzerland: IBBY. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  17. ^ a b c "Margaret Mahy Award". Storylines.org.nz. Auckland, New Zealand: Storylines Children's Literature Charitable Trust of New Zealand. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  18. ^ "Margaret Mahy Medal Award". Christchurch City Libraries (christchurchcitylibraries.com). 2013. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  19. ^ "Book award named after author Mahy". 3 News NZ (3news.co.nz). 29 April 2013. 
  20. ^ a b Bateman,D. 2005. Bateman New Zealand Encyclopedia: Sixth Edition. David Bateman Ltd. p. 407.
  21. ^ "2003 Awards: (New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards) Winners and Finalists 2003". Booksellers New Zealand (booksellers.co.nz). 28 September 2011. Retrieved 2013-07-29. 
  22. ^ "Previous winners". Creative New Zealand. Retrieved October 24, 2013. 
  23. ^ a b c d "Phoenix Award Brochure 2012". Children's Literature Association. Retrieved 11 December 2012.
    See also the current homepage "Phoenix Award".
  24. ^ "Sir Julius Vogel Awards". Science Fiction and Fantasy Association of New Zealand, Inc. (sffanz.org.nz). 2012. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  25. ^ "2011 Awards: New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards Winners 2011". Booksellers New Zealand (booksellers.co.nz). 18 May 2011. Retrieved 2012-08-02. 
  26. ^ a b "Margaret Mahy, renowned NZ children's author, dies". One News. TVNZ. 23 July 2012. Retrieved 23 July 2012. 
  27. ^ "Children's author Mahy dies at 76". BBC News (London: British Broadcasting Corporation). 24 July 2012. OCLC 33057671. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 
  28. ^ a b Dastgheib, Shabnam (24 July 2012). "Rush on Margaret Mahy books". The Dominion Post (Wellington, New Zealand: Fairfax New Zealand). ISSN 1175-9488. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  29. ^ Flood, Alison (23 July 2012). "Children's author Margaret Mahy dies aged 76". guardian.co.uk (Manchester, UK). ISSN 0261-3077. OCLC 60623878. Retrieved 25 July 2012. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]