Beloved New Zealand writer Margaret Mahy has died after a four-month battle with cancer.
Mahy, who was diagnosed in April, died at the Nurse Maude Hospice in Christchurch today aged 76.
One of New Zealand’s favourite authors, she had penned over 200 books and poems and claimed many awards, including the Carnegie Medal and the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award.
Last year she won the New Zealand Post Children’s Book of the Year award for The Moon and Farmer McPhee with Dunedin illustrator David Elliot.
Author and literary professor Bill Manhire told Fairfax NZ that her death would be mourned by the arts community for some time.
“I think she was loved at the same level that Sir Edmund Hillary was. She’s right up there as one of the great icons of New Zealand.”
Literary blogger Graham Beattie called her one of New Zealand’s greatest-ever writers, and compared her with Katherine Mansfield.
A long-time resident of Governor’s Bay, Mahy won international acclaim for her first book in 1969 A Lion in the Meadow.
She became a full-time writer in 1980.
IMAGE: Bob and Nancy via Wikicommons Media