Margaret Mahy: A Writer's Life
A literary portrait of New Zealand's best-loved children's author Margaret Mahy's death on 23 July 2012 brought forth an unprecedented outpouring of grief and heartfelt tributes from around New Zealand and the world. Her passing at 76 was breaking news in the media, unstoppable through the social networks, noted by political leaders in Parliament and by children in classrooms throughout the country.Margaret was one of the world's leading authors for younger readers for four decades. In her own country she was popularly known as the writer in the multicoloured wig who wrote marvellously funny picture books and enchanted generations of school children. Her story had its fairy-tale elements. In 1968, a hard-pressed solo mother of two daughters, working as a librarian by day and writing long into the night, she was 'discovered' by a leading American publisher who flew 'to the end of the earth' to offer her a multi-book publishing contract.From those first picture books, through the great novels of the 1980s and new books and awards right up to the year of her death, she came to be regarded as the third in New Zealand's literary pantheon, alongside Katherine Mansfield and Janet Frame. In 2006 her achievements were recognised by IBBY (International Board on Books for Young People), awarding her the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, the world's 'Little Nobel', for her distinguished contribution to children's literature.
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