Tale of a Tail, Margaret Mahy’s final novel, published posthumously next month (with illustrations by Tony Ross), was apparently commissioned privately by the Polish photographer, Tomasz Gudzowaty.
The Sunday Star Times has learned Mahy’s final book, scheduled for first release here on Tuesday, was a commission from a world famous photographer and the son of one of Poland’s richest men.
Tomasz Gudzowaty said he negotiated the book with Mahy because he was "seeking a way to share that feeling, that experience" of his friendship with his dog Naykee. "When the thought about the book crossed my mind for the first time, Naykee was in perfect health, and it might seem that our friendship – I think it’s a proper word for our relationship – would last forever," Gudzowaty said.
Gudzowaty wouldn’t reveal the cost of his commission – originally conceived as a series of loosely connected stories and later revised to become a short novel – and said the only copyright Mahy had transferred to him related to any future Polish editions.
“The negotiations, whatever that may mean, focused on convincing Margaret that Naykee’s story was worth being told, that it might be enjoyed by readers . . . I felt obliged to offer a fair amount of money, adequate to Margaret’s rank in literature and she found my proposal fair and adequate.”