Margaret Mahy part of a rich New Zealand tradition
Acclaimed author Margaret Mahy who passed away last week aged 76, launched her literary career in 1961 with two stories published in The New Zealand School Journal – Teddy and the Witches, and The Procession.
This was the beginning of a prolific writing life, with Mahy publishing more than 75 stories and poems in the School Journal between 1961 and 1986.
In 1965 two issues of the School Journal were devoted to her work – A Lion in the Meadow and The Midnight People.
She had a strong presence in the Ministry of Education’s Ready to Read series published by Learning Media from 1983 to 1988, together with a story and poem published in the Junior Journal.
Learning Media also published her story The Great Car Clean-out in 2002, and Me and My Dog in 2003. Giant Soup was republished as a standalone book in 2009. These three books and Fantail, Fantail (from 1984) are still part of the current Ready to Read series in New Zealand schools.
“Margaret was the quintessential storyteller, weaving magical and mystical tales that inspired and entertained children and adults around the world,” , says David Glover, Chief Executive of Learning Media.
About Margaret Mahy
Margaret Mahy ONZ was born in Whakatane, New Zealand on 21 March 1936 and died 23rd July 2012.
The plots of many of her books have strong supernatural elements and her writing concentrates on the themes of human relationships and growing up. Her novels The Haunting and The Changeover: A Supernatural Romance both received the Carnegie Medal of the British Library Association. 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. She has written a almost 50 novels and many have been translated into German, French, Spanish, Dutch, Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Finnish, Italian, Japanese, Catalan and Afrikaans.
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.
As an outstanding children's author Margaret Mahy won many awards throughout her career. They include: The Esther Glen Award, The Carnegie Medal, Aim Children’s Book Award, New Zealand Post Children’s Book Award, The Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Prime Ministers Literary Award, Icon Artist and in 2006 she was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Award (known as the Little Nobel Prize) in recognition of the "lasting contribution to children's literature" she has made.
About The New Zealand School Journal
In May 1907 New Zealand pupils were able to read a schoolbook published in their own country for the first time. The School Journal was initiated by Inspector-General of Schools George Hogben to provide schoolchildren with a free publication containing information on history, geography and civics. This was a cheaper option than publishing several separate textbooks.
Until 1939, when a School Publications Branch was formed, the School Journal was the Department of Education’s sole publication for children. Today the School Journal is published by Learning Media for the Ministry of Education. Believed to be the longest-running serial publication for children in the world, the Journal continues to provide 7–13-year-olds with New Zealand-based reading material that is relevant to their lives. Around 750,000 copies of the School Journal are published annually in four parts.
Many of New Zealand’s foremost authors and illustrators have had their work published in the School Journal over the past 100 years. They include Rita Angus, James K. Baxter, Alistair Campbell, Russell Clark, Jack Lasenby and E. Mervyn Taylor.
Visit www.natlib.govt.nz/collections/online-exhibitions/school-journal to see an exhibition exploring the work of 14 artists and illustrators who have worked with the School Journal including Colin McCahon, Rita Angus, John Drawbridge and Gordon Walters.
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