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Margaret Mahy

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Country of Origin:

New Zealand

Internationally renowned, Margaret Mahy is considered one of the world’s greatest contemporary writers for children and young adults. A prolific writer and award winner, she has published around 200 titles, translated into 15 languages, and won over 50 awards, including many of the world’s major prizes for children’s writers.

Born in Whakatane in 1936, her first published stories were at the age of 7, in the children’s page of the Bay of Plenty Beacon, with others being published in the School Journal after she finished university in the late 1950s. Her works include novels, novellas, many picture books, collections, non-fiction, and few authors have been equally successful writing picture books for the very young and ground-breaking novels for older teenagers.

Mahy’s stories were discovered by Sarah Chockla Gross, an American editor, in 1968 leading to Franklin Watts publishing five Mahy stories as picture books a year later, launching her international career. Later she added junior and adolescent fiction to her repertoire. Fantasy and the liberating power of the imagination are important to Mahy and regular themes in her writing.

Among her numerous awards are New Zealand Order of Merit (1993), Arts Foundation Icon Award (2005), the Prime Minister’s Awards for Literary Achievement (2005), and in 2006, the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, the world's premier prize for children's writing. 2005 also saw the publication of Margaret Mahy: A Writer’s Life by Tessa Duder.

The Moon & Farmer McPhee is a heart-warming story – with lots of fun wordplay – about a grumpy farmer whose animals keep him awake at night singing and dancing by the light of the moon. Classic Margaret Mahy, with inspirational drawings by renowned illustrator David Elliot. In 2011 the book won both the Picture Book section and Book of the Year at the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards.

Mahy died in Christchurch on 23 July 2012 after being diagnosed with cancer in April.

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