Margaret Mahy 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.” She was also awarded the Order of New Zealand.
Mahy won the annual Carnegie Medal from the Library Association, recognising the year’s best children’s book by a British subject, both for The Haunting (1982) and for The Changeover (1984). 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 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.