Margaret Mahy displays

Two years ago, we lost “word witch” Margaret Mahy – a famous Canterbury local and a much loved children’s author.

Cover of The ChangeoverWhat better way to remember her legacy than with words. There is a session The Changeover: 30 Years On at the WORD Christchurch Writers & Readers Festival on Saturday 30 August 2014. Join Stuart McKenzie, co-writer and producer of the forthcoming Changeover movie, and young adult writers Elizabeth Knox and Karen Healey, as they discuss with children’s literature specialist Bill Nagelkerke the importance of this great teen novel and its ongoing relevance.

Words are also for consumption. Search our catalogue for books by Margaret Mahy.

Margaret used to be a children’s librarian at Christchurch City Libraries and our Margaret Mahy pages are full of ideas about writing as well as info on Margaret and her stories:

If the ideas don’t come I go for a walk, listen to music, do a bit of gardening, but I have so much work, it is always easy to go onto something else for a while. If it is urgent I make something happen, even if I am not particularly satisfied with the level of invention, because I think as long as the story is moving something is going to happen, and so far I have been lucky.

We are also lucky to have online the poem Down the back of the chair, and The word-eater written by Margaret Mahy, and illustrated by Bob Kerr. You might recognise the setting of the Central Library in Gloucester Street.

The Word-eater - written by Margaret Mahy; Illustrated by Bob Kerr

More Margaret

March 21 is the 78th anniversary of the birth of Margaret Mahy. Although it has been nearly two years since she passed away on July 23 2012, her name is still in the news.Book Cover of Magical Margaret Mahy

Plans are full steam ahead for the Margaret Mahy Family Playground. Billed as ‘the most amazing playground’ the city has ever seen, it promises activity zones aimed at different ages, comfortable places for adults to supervise and relax, and challenging play equipment, all inspired by the stories of Margaret Mahy.

It’s almost time for the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards to begin. The finalists will be announced on Tuesday 8 April, and the winners will be announced on Monday 23 June. The supreme winner wins the title of New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year, and an additional $7500 prize. The award was re-named in honour of Margaret Mahy in 2013 and Into the River by Ted Dawe won the inaugural award.

If you are itching for some Margaret Mahy screen goodness, you can check out full episodes of her award-winning TV adaptions and scripts on NZ On Screen:

The Haunting of Barney PalmerCover of The Haunting
Which ’80s kid wasn’t totally freaked out by this spooky film?

Strangers
This thriller inspired many a secret gang and clubhouse in the playground.

Cuckoo Land
If you haven’t seen this psychedelic, video-effect laden show, narrated by Paul Holmes, you should stop reading this and check it out immediately. I don’t remember seeing it as a kid, possibly because my parents thought it was some sort of medication-induced hallucination.

For the full list of Margaret Mahy media, head over to the NZ On Screen site.

If watching these makes you want to get back into some the source material, check out our full list of Margaret Mahy titles  on our catalogue and revisit some childhood favourites.

Then get onto our Margaret Mahy pages and check out the latest, and sadly last, titles published by this Kiwi taonga.

Cover of Footsteps through the FogCover of The Man from the Land of FandangoCover of The Green Bath

cover of Dashing DogMargaret Mahy was a spell caster no doubt of it. Not just children and parents, but illustrators fell under her spell. The other night I was watching A tall long faced tale , the very creative documentary about Margaret and her work which recently screened on television. Happily we have a lot of copies of the DVD in our libraries but if you want a taster it is here on NZ On Screen. Some very famous illustrators talk about the magic of working with Margaret.

The very next day what should I see but a wonderful account from New Zealand author and  illustrator Donovan Bixley about how he worked on illustrating  Margaret’s book  Dashing Dog. Donovan has been our November Star author on our Christchurch Kids blog. The Kids blog is something anyone interested in children’s books should read. The monthly star authors are a particular treat with writers from New Zealand and overseas. Amongst Donovan’s posts from November are The Art of Hybrid Novels, Part One and The Art of Hybrid Novels, Part Two which make very interesting reading, especially if you are interested in graphic novels.

Margaret Mahy displays23 July 2012 was a big big day. Central Library Tuam opened, South Library closed. And that night, news filtered through Twitter and other sources that Margaret Mahy had died.

People were stunned and sad for her family and friends. And we felt the loss of someone with a heart as big and free as her imagination.

We paid tribute in as many ways:

This year, we are having some more Mahy funtimes at our libraries.

Experience the awesomeness of Margaret Mahy through her books and DVDs and have a delve in our collection of Mahy stuff:

  • “When I have an idea properly established I think of it all the time . . . driving, gardening, shopping . . . sometimes the story becomes so interesting to me that real life becomes rather shadowy for a while” and more Margaret in her own words
  • The Word-eater: Our very own library Margaret Mahy story with pics of Central Library on Gloucester Street


An illustration of Margaret Mahy’s The Word-Eater by Bob Kerr.

Here is an omnium gatherum of some of our favourite tributes:

RIP M.M. Much missed.

Margaret Mahy storytime at Central Library Peterborough

Margaret Mahy storytime, 2012

23 July marks the first anniversary of Margaret Mahy’s passing. Margaret was a “word witch”, a master of children’s literature and also a former Christchurch Children’s Librarian.

To celebrate Margaret’s life we are presenting storytime sessions at various libraries throughout KidsFest. “Margaret Mahy Mayhem and more!” will be a colourful, energetic tribute to one of New Zealands most highly acclaimed and loved children’s author – and to our former colleague.

Tania
Children’s Network Specialist

Margaret Mahy book signing Margaret Mahy displays

Angus Tait Margaret Mahy Elsie Locke

Angus Tait, Margaret Mahy and Elsie Locke: Canterbury Heroes.

The word-eater by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Bob KerrThe word-eater written by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by Bob Kerr. This story and illustrations were first displayed as a ‘big book’ in the children’s section of the Central Library during Christchurch’s Books and Beyond Festival in 1998. Margaret Mahy set the story in and around the library. Bob Kerr painted the pictures during the time the book was on display.

Christchurch Writers Festival 2012 logoIn the city of memories it’s hard to resist looking back. When was the first Christchurch Writers Festival I attended? I used to have a full collection of programmes so I could have checked, but not any more.

It was certainly held in the Arts Centre in the winter, because I remember the fire burning in the Great Hall. There have been so many great writers over the years; who stands out? In a quietly powerful  New Zealand way Noel Virtue and Beryl Fletcher. In a “hairs standing up on the back of your neck I can’t believe what I’m seeing here” sort of way Tusiata Avia. In a “this guy wrote a book that was made into a movie by Steven Spielberg” way Tom Keneally.

Margaret Mahy, mesmerising on the stage and asking the most amazing questions from the floor.  And Don McGlashan with the Seven Sisters in the Town Hall.

Cover: GoldEnough looking back, it’s time for some new memories and not long to wait for The Press Christchurch Writers Festival 2012. On my most likely to be memorable list are Emily Perkins, John Lanchester, Chris Cleave, Michael Smythe, Joanne Drayton.

Who am I kidding? I’m looking forward to all the writers. I’ll be at every session humanly possible. I won’t be in a Great or a Town Hall, but in two years’ time I might be blogging about how the Geo Dome was the most memorable of all.

What memories do you have of past writers festivals? And who are you looking forward to this time?

On Saturday 11 August, New Zealand will be doing a Margaret Mahy nationwide read. The storytimes will take place at 11am. Come along and listen to librarians read Margaret’s stories at:

In Barbadoes Street the Christchurch Youth Market will be launched. You can check out the stalls, be entertained, and also have a look at the new 298 Youth Health Centre in the Barbadoes Youth Hub.

Wander down then to the NG Gallery on Madras Street, recently home to Michael Parekowhai’s Steinway and Bulls. Now it is hosting Christchurch Art Gallery’s Out of Place:

Tilting a panoramic view until it dissolves, constructing furnishings with which to tackle the new normal, turning a room inside out and revealing a city that is reinventing itself before our eyes – four artists start with structure and examine what is possible when the rules no longer apply. Featuring works by Katharina Jaeger, Chris Pole, Tim J. Veling and Charlotte Watson.

Your Saturday could be sorted.

Being a reluctant learner at school, I never had a lot of time for reading. I definitely wasn’t a fan of books with chapters. My parents were probably disgusted, especially as Dad was a librarian and Mum a primary school teacher. I hated reading with a passion, and once even tried sending my brother up to the teacher to do mine for me.

However, a fond memory I do have is one day I was sitting in my primary school classroom when a sparkly, spirited Margaret Mahy arrived wearing a rainbow coloured wig. This wonderful appearance naturally made me interested. Mahy’s fantastic, bubbly, character and amazing narrative won me over. Unlike most adults, she knew how to enter the world of children which made her truly unique.

A great picture book is multifaceted, complemented by illustrations and appeals to adults as much as they do children. Mahy’s books such as A Lion in the Meadow, The Man Whose Mother was a Pirate and The Spider in the Shower illustrate her wonderful imagination. Children can put themselves in the shoes of the characters in these stories.

Children's choirSitting at Margaret’s farewell, in Hagley Park Geo Dome, it did occur to me how important it is that teachers, parents and caregivers try to understand what is going on in the world of children. Sometimes, the story itself isn’t enough, it is how it is told. As the service went on with renowned New Zealand literary greats, such as Tessa Duder, Rosie Belton, Gavin Bishop and Kate De Goldi paying homage to this wonderful New Zealander, I loved the fact a little girl came back and forth to pat the guide dog of an attendee, you could hear children playing and birds chirping in Hagley Park and oddly enough I had a ladybird fly into the Dome and settle on me. I think Margaret would love knowing this occurred.

Mahy’s books will continue to be cherished by future generations of children nationally and internationally and no doubt reprinted. Check out her wonderful collection at Christchurch City Libraries. Interestingly, this reluctant reader is now a trained librarian.

Rest in peace Margaret, you will never be forgotten.

Brendon

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 764 other followers