“I think books create a sort of network in the reader's mind, with one book reinforcing another. Some books form relationships. Other books stand in opposition. No two writers or readers have the same pattern of interaction.” – Margaret Mahy
I’ve written about Mahy before but on the occasion of what would have been her 81st birthday I thought it appropriate to say just a few more words about this path-setting writer from New Zealand. Mahy started her professional life as a librarian and it was this association with books and the words of writers, coupled with “the light in children’s eyes when they discovered new worlds through books” that led her to become a writer herself.
Twice awarded the Carnegie Medal – for The Haunting and The Changeover – she also won the world’s top international prize for children’s and young adult literature when she was named for the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2006, just a few years before her death. The words written about her then bear repeating:
“Mahy's language is rich in poetic imagery, magic, and supernatural elements. Her oeuvre provides a vast, luminous, but intensely personal metaphorical arena for the expression and experience of childhood and adolescence. Equally important, however, are her rhymes and poems for children. Mahy's works are known to children and young adults all over the world.”
Each year, The Margaret Mahy Award is presented to a writer who has made a significant contribution to the broad field of children's literature and literacy. Author of 100 picture books, 40 novels and 20 short story collections, her advice to young writers was first to be good readers, and then simply, “to write.” Perfect advice for A Writer’s Moment.
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