"She can lasso with a limerick, haunt with a haiku and wrap you tight in a rhyme, quick as lightning. Her cauldron is a dictionary, her wand a mighty pen, and she stirs her words at midnight, making tempting treats for children, to please and tease and tantalise them with imaginary treasures and delectable dreams. She weaves words into adventures, sets verses wildly dancing, makes similes sing and stamp their feet and poems purr like pussycats who've eaten all the cream. Her name is Margaret Mahy."Wheeler Books

Margaret Mahy was born and raised in Whakatane and began writing children's books in earnest at the age of eighteen. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1955, Margaret trained as a librarian and in 1967 began work at the School Library Service in Christchurch. During this time she had stories published in the New Zealand School Journal, however her big break came in 1968 when an American publisher found the text of A Lion in the Meadowand bought it – along with all the other work Margaret had produced over the years. Consequently, eight books were published simultaneously.

Margaret became a full-time writer in 1980. Her novel The Haunting won the Carnegie Medal of the British Library Association – the first writer outside the United Kingdom to do so. Margaret's work has been translated into fifteen languages and won the Carnegie Medal three times (1982, 1986 and 1987); the Young Observer Fiction Prize (1986); the Italian Premier Grafico Award (1976) and the Dutch Silver Pencil Award (1977). She has also been awarded the Esther Glen Medal of the New Zealand Library Association six times, the first in 1970 for The Lion In The Meadow.

Margaret has been appointed a writing fellow in New Zealand, Australia, and in the United States. Her works have won awards and been included in prestige listings by journal editors, librarians and educationalists. The Australian animated television show The Magical World of Margaret Mahy is based on Margaret's children's stories. In 1999, A Summery Saturday Morning won Best Picture Book at the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards, and 24 Hours received an Honour Award at the 2001 New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards. Alchemy (2002) was shortlisted for the 2003 LIANZA Esther Glen Medal and won the Best Senior Fiction at the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards 2003.

In 2005 Harper Collins published Margaret Mahy: A Writer's Life by Tessa Duder. In the same year, Margaret was awarded the $60,000 Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement and was awarded an Arts Foundation Icon Award.

Her books Maddigan's Fantasia (HarperCollins, 2005) (Junior Fiction section), and Kaitangata Twitch (Allen & Unwin 2005) (Young Adult section) were nominated in the 2006 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. 2006. Kaitangata Twitch won the Honour Award in the Young Adult section. In the same year Margaret was announced as the winner of the world's premier prize for children's writing, the Hans Christian Andersen Award. Often called the "Little Nobel", the award is given biennially by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) to honour an author who has madea lasting contribution to international children's literature.

In 2008 Margaret was nominated as one of two New Zealand candidates (with Joy Cowley), out of an international total of 153, for the 540,000 EURO Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2009 for children's literature.

Margaret won the  2011 NZ Post Children's Book Awards with The Moon and Farmer McPhee - illustrated by David Elliott. The book also won the Best Picture Book Award

In 2016, it was announced that Mahy's best selling Young Adult novel The Changeover is being made into a movie, which will be presented to potential buyers at that year's Cannes market.

Margaret passed away at the age of 76 on 23 July 2012.

Audio

2012
New Zealand author Elizabeth Knox (The Vintner's Luck, Dreamhunter, Dreamquake), discussing the work of Margaret Mahy, who died on 23 July 2012.
1936 
   Born in Whakatane, New Zealand
1943
    Wrote her first story aged seven
1955
    Bachelor of Arts (Auckland/Canterbury University Colleges)
1967
   Worked for the School Library Service in Christchurch;stories published in theNZSchool Journal
1968
    American publisher bought A Lion in the Meadow text with all the other work Margaret had produced - 8 books published simultaneously
1970
   The Lion In The Meadow awarded the Esther Glen Medal of the NZ Library Assn (1st of six times).
1976  
  Wins Italian Premier Grafico Award
1977 
  Wins Dutch Silver Pencil Award
1980   
Becomes a full-time writer
1982  
  The Haunting wins Carnegie Medal of the British Library Association
1986  
  The Changeover wins Carnegie Medal of the British Library Association;Wins Young Observer Fiction Prize
1987
    Wins Carnegie Medal of the British Library Association
2001 
   24 Hours wins Honour Award, NZ Post Children's Book Awards
2003
    Alchemy wins the Best Senior Fiction, NZ Post Children's Book Awards
2005
  Margaret Mahy: A Writer's Life by Tessa Duder Harper Collins;Arts Foundation Icon Award;Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement;The Catalogue of the University wins Phoenix Award
2006
Kaitangata Twitch wins Honour Award in the Young Adult section NZ Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults;The Tricksters wins Phoenix Honor Book Award; Sir Julius Vogel Award for services to New Zealand science fiction and fantasy'wins world's premier prize for children's writing, the Hans Christian Andersen Award;Memory wins Phoenix Award
2008
Nominated as one of two New Zealand candidates (with Joy Cowley) for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for children's literature
2011
 The Moon and Farmer McPhee won the NZ Post Children's Book and Best Picture Book Awards
2012
Passed away, aged 76
2013
NZ Post Children's Book Awards announce their top prize to be known as the NZ Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year award.
2016
Mahy's best selling novel The Changeover is made into a movie

Awards