Margaret Mahy obituary | Books | guardian.co.uk

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Margaret Mahy - Guardian Obituary

Julia Eccleshare's obituary for Margaret Mahy, published in The Guardian two days ago...

Extract

Asked about her childhood influences and their impact on her writing, Mahy said: "I found it difficult to write a specifically New Zealand story because I got all of my magical displacement from Beatrix Potter, Winnie the Pooh and Swallows and Amazons." But, while the magical ingredients were English, the geography of New Zealand shaped her writing.

After school, Mahy studied at Auckland and Canterbury universities. She trained at the New Zealand Library School in Wellington and worked as a librarian, for some years at Canterbury. Many of her early stories were published in the New Zealand School Journal. In 1980, she became a full-time writer.

Mahy lived in a house by the sea with a great many cats and could be reclusive. She loved the countryside and went on long walks, talking to herself as she walked, to help sort out what she was trying to write. In her stories, Mahy could make the supernatural seem as real as anything natural. That was not a device for fiction - it was just what she believed. Although funny, robust, forthright, matter of fact and never the least bit fey, she always thought that there was something else, other forces or dimensions which played an important part in our lives. They were there, whether we believed in them or not.

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This page contains a single entry by achuka published on July 28, 2012 8:30 AM.

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