Story: Children’s and young adult literature

Celebrated authors: Margaret Mahy (1st of 2)

Margaret Mahy, who died in 2012, was New Zealand's most beloved and critically acclaimed children's author, and had a large readership overseas. She was prolific and her body of work was diverse, ranging from picture books to young adult novels, to television screenplays. She won the British Carnegie Medal twice – for The haunting (1982) and The changeover (1984). In 2001 she won the Hans Christian Andersen Award, widely considered the world's most prestigious children's literature award, and sometimes nicknamed the 'Nobel prize for children's literature'.  In 1991 New Zealand's Storylines Foundation set up the Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award in her name. Much coveted, it is given annually to a person considered to have made a broad and significant contribution to New Zealand children's literature.

This clip from the 2004 documentary Made in New Zealand – Margaret Mahy gives a sense of Mahy's work and her international reputation.

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How to cite this page:

Kerryn Pollock, 'Children’s and young adult literature - Fantasy and social realism, 1970s–2000s', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/interactive/43160/celebrated-authors-margaret-mahy (accessed 24 March 2019)

Story by Kerryn Pollock, published 22 Oct 2014, updated 9 Aug 2016