Margaret Mahy

Margaret Mahy

Gender: Female
Known for: Writing
Birthday: 1936-03-21
Deathday: 2012-07-23 (76 years old)

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Margaret Mahy (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".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). (As of 2012 just seven writers have won two Carnegies, none three.) She was also a highly commended runner up for Memory (1987).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 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.The Margaret Mahy Playground in the Christchurch Central City is named in her honour.

Personal Life

From around 1965, 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. At age 62, Mahy had her right shoulder tattooed with the picture of a skull with a rose in its teeth. She was writing about a person being tattooed and considered the tattoo research to enable her to describe the experience convincingly.In 2007, Mahy adopted a cavoodle puppy she named Honey, because of her colour. Mahy died at the Nurse Maude Hospice in St Albans, Christchurch on 23 July 2012, aged 76. 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.Her final book Tail of a Tale, published posthumously in 2014, was commissioned by Polish photographer Tomasz Gudzowaty.

Early Life

Mahy was born in 1936, the eldest of five children. She was raised in her birthplace of Whakatane. Her father, Frances George Mahy, was a bridge builder and often told his children adventure stories which later influenced Mahy's writing. Her mother Helen Penlington was a teacher. She was regarded as a 'slow learner', and particularly hated mathematics. Her first published story was "Harry is Bad", written at age seven (published in the children's page of the Bay of Plenty Beacon). 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.



Known for



2012-07-23 (76 years old)

Place of birth
Whakatāne, New Zealand

New Zealand

New Zealand, New Zealand

Carnegie Medal, Prime Minister's Awards for Literary Achievement, Order of New Zealand, Phoenix Award, Hans Christian Andersen Award

Euan Frizzell
Margaret Mahy
Euan Frizzell worked together with Margaret Mahy in:
3 Movies
Ray Henwood
Margaret Mahy
Ray Henwood worked together with Margaret Mahy in:
3 Movies
Margaret Mahy
Margaret Mahy
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