Margaret Mahy: The Queen Of Story | Stuff.co.nz

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The Queen Of Story And The Road Robber

Joy Cowley remembers her fellow-author, margaret Mahy:

It seemed to me that Margaret was never entirely satisfied with ordinariness. She would pick up a prosaic topic and run with it into new territory, much to everyone's delight. Sometimes, we made story talk together. On one occasion in Christchurch, she picked me up after I'd finished some school visits, and took me back to her house. The drive, however, was complicated. The school was in an unfamiliar part of the city and we got lost because an expected road seemed to have vanished. Now who would want to steal a road? we wondered.

The idea seeded a story that grew so fast it became a major preoccupation and we continued to drive down wrong roads and dead- end streets. When we finally found our way to Governors Bay, we had the Road Robber, a giant who stole roads, rolled them up like carpets and then sold them at ridiculous profit for tennis courts and airport runways. Margaret and I looked at each other with the satisfaction of friends who'd completed a piano duet and I told her she should turn the story into a picture book. She said: "No, you write it because I stole your story."

She didn't steal my story. That error came from a publisher who had put Margaret's name instead of mine on a picture book, An Elephant in the House. But Margaret insisted I adopt the road thief, and I still see her word magic and laughter in Road Robber.



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This page contains a single entry by achuka published on July 31, 2012 8:15 AM.

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