Highest honour for children’s books renamed

29 April 2013

‘New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year’

New Zealand’s most cherished children’s author will be commemorated with the renaming of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards’ top honour.

From this year, the best children’s book will receive the New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year award.

Margaret Mahy’s quirky imagination touched every Kiwi who read one of her books and placed New Zealand’s children and young adult literature on the international stage. She passed away at the age of 76, last year.

The Chair of the Book Awards Governance Group, Sam Elworthy said renaming the top children’s book award is a way of commemorating the huge impact Margaret Mahy had as one of New Zealand’s most acclaimed literary figures.

“For over five decades, Margaret Mahy has captured children’s imaginations at home and around the world. Her unparalleled commitment to children’s literature will continue to live on in our hearts and minds for many years to come.

We felt there could be no more appropriate name for the Book of the Year award than one that honors such an influential and well-loved New Zealand writer.”

Margaret Mahy was a previous finalist and winner of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards and is a finalist in this year’s picture book category for her book Mister Whistler.

Her daughter, Bridget Mahy said the Mahy family was “immensely pleased” that she was being recognised for her lifetime’s work.

“Margaret was a spirited and generous person who loved supporting and celebrating fellow writers. She would be the first to stand up and cheer for nominees who had worked so hard at successfully crafting their work for a young audience.

Sam Elworthy said it was great to be able to hold the Awards in Margaret Mahy’s home town of Christchurch and to have the Mahy family able to attend in her honour.

Background information

The New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards are managed by Booksellers New Zealand and sponsored by New Zealand Post. The awards are also supported by Creative New Zealand and Book Tokens New Zealand.

This year’s New Zealand Post Children’s Post Book Awards will be held on June 24, at the Addington Event Centre.

Important dates

Voting for Children’s Choice award underway
NZ Post Children’s Book Awards Festival – 17 – 24 June 2013
Winners announced – 24 June 2013

Margaret Mahy awards

1999 - Book of the Year and Picture Book Winner for A Summery Saturday Morning
2003 - Honour Award for Kaitangata Twitch
2003 - Senior Fiction Award for Alchemy
2010 - Honour Award for The Word Witch
2011 - Book of the Year and Picture Book Winner for The Moon and Farmer McPhee (illustrated by David Elliot).
2013 – Nominated for Best Picture Book for Mister Whistler (illustrated by Gavin Bishop)