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Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award

Award Background

The Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal is New Zealand’s most prestigious honour for children’s authors, illustrators and publishers. Among the 27 recipients since 1991 are Joy Cowley, Lynley Dodd, Jack Lasenby, Maurice Gee, Gavin Bishop, David Hill, Kate De Goldi and in 2017 Des Hunt.

The Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award was first presented in 1991 to Margaret Mahy in recognition of her contribution to the world of literature for children and young adults. Surprising Moments, her inaugural lecture, set the standard for those given by subsequent award-winners. These published lectures by the champions of the New Zealand children’s literature community have enriched New Zealand’s literary heritage with their insight into the experiences, ideas, issues and concerns involved in writing and/or illustrating for children, improving literacy, and ensuring access to quality literature.

The award carries a monetary prize of $2000 and is presented annually to a person for their lifetime achievement and significant contribution to the broad field of children’s literature and literacy. This includes writing, illustration, publishing and academic fields. The address is published on the Storylines website immediately after the award presentation.

Nominations are open for the 2021 Margaret Mahy Medal.

Nominations close on 31 October 2020. To make a nomination, fill in this form and email it to Storylines, or print it off and post.

2020 Margaret Mahy Medal winner: Maria Gill


Multi-award-winning non-fiction author Maria Gill is the winner of the 2020 Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal for life-time achievement and a distinguished contribution to New Zealand’s literature for young people.
Maria  is a superbly worthy recipient of the award. She has written more than 60 books and her impressive list of awards highlights the exceptional quality ofher work. She has always supported other writers, been driven to boost a love for reading and writing among children and adults and worked tirelessly in the world of children's literature. She is recognised in New Zealand and in Australia for her publications and teaching; she has been regarded for the past decade and a half as one who “puts words into action, pushes up the shirt sleeves and gets into the work” kind of person for the writing, reading, and children’s education communities. She is highly regarded and admired among fellow writers for the worthiness of the work she produces for children, and her quiet determination to use her talents and gifts to enhance the lives of others – especially children of Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Maria will present the 2020 Margaret Mahy Lecture at the Storylines Margaret Mahy National Awards Day on the afternoon of 5 April.

Read Maria's profile on our website.

Maria Gill-818Maria Gill will be presented with her medal, and present the 2020 Storylines Margaret Mahy lecture on 5 April

2019 Margaret Mahy Medal winner: Mandy Hagar


Multi-award-winning Wellington-based author Mandy Hager was the winner of the 2019 Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal.

Best-known as a writer of young adult fiction, Mandy  has also written fiction and non-fiction for younger children, as well as film scripts and educational programmes. In 2017 she published her first adult novel, Heloise, long-listed for New Zealand’s premier adult Ockham Book Awards.

From the publication in 1995 of Tom’s Story for Mallinson Rendel, and for nearly every work of fiction since, Mandy Hager has achieved the unusual feat of winning a major award or being shortlisted. She has also been extensively published by major US publishers.

Read more about Mandy here, or on her website, Facebook or Twitter pages. 
Mandy also has a Facebook page for the
Blood of the Lamb trilogy

Read the full news release about Mandy’s award here.

Karyn Hay interviewed Mandy on RNZ National the day her award was announced. 
You can find the interview here. (There’s no direct link so you may need to search for it, about 30 minutes into Karyn’s programme.)

Margaret Mahy medal winner Mandy Hager with Bridget Mahy IMG 3702 -804-566
Mandy Hagar was presented with her medal by Bridget Mahy after the presentation of the 2019 Stortylines Margarte Mahy Medal in April 2019

2018 Margaret Mahy Medal winner: Janice Marriott


Children’s author, screenwriter, mentor, audio producer, editor and teacher, Janice Marriott, was awarded the 2018 Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal for lifetime achievement and her distinguished contribution to New Zealand’s children’s literature at the annual Storylines Margaret Mahy Awards Day on 8 April. Her Margaret Mahy Medal was presented by Prime Minister and Minster for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Jacinda Ardern.

Janice then presented the Margaret Mahy lecture, a beautifully crafted analysis of the rungs on the literacy ladder, and how adults can enrich children's experiences at home and at school through sharing words and stories.

In welcoming Janice to the podium, Storylines trustee Tessa Duder said: "
With experience in broadcasting, teaching and librarianship, Janice burst onto the New Zealand children’s book scene in 1989 with Letters to Lesley, the first of around 20 children’s books and many ‘school readers.’ Several of her publications have picked up national awards and been honoured as Storylines Notable Books. The gardeners among us will know her as the writer of books and magazine columns on gardening.

"Janice has held literary residences in Dunedin, Auckland and Foxton. For many years her day job was producing audio books for Learning Media, those Kiwi Kidsongs books known in probably every primary and intermediate classroom in the country.

"A lesser-known feature of Janice’s career has been her supportive work of other writers: more than two decades’ experience as a creative writing teacher, judge, manuscript assessor, editor and mentor. This contribution, added to her own body of writing, is this year being acknowledged by the coveted Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal."

You can read the full  text of her lecture, or watch her lecture on video.
Or hear an interview with Janice Marriott on RNZ National.
You can also see the speech presented by Prime Minister and Minister for Arts Culture and Heritage, Jacinda Ardern.
Twice winner of the New Zealand children’s novel of the year, Janice began her publishing career in 1989 with Letters to Lesley and Brain Drain, followed by a steady flow of children’s and YA novels, educational texts, short stories, radio plays and documentaries, scripts for the TV series The Wot Wots, as well as books on gardening for both children and adults. She has held writers’ residences at the Auckland and Dunedin Colleges of Education and judged several major books awards.

Over the past 15 years she has developed a parallel career as a sought-after creative writing tutor and mentor for tertiary institutions, online writing schools and for her own consultancy as editor and manuscript assessor.

Read Janice’s full publishing and professional profile here.

IMG 6083 Jacinda Adern and  Janice Marriott-540-857
Prime Minister and Minister for Arts Culture and Heritage Jacinda Ardern, with Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal winner Janice Marriott
IMG 6090 Janice Marriott-49-392-356
Janice Marriott presents the annual Storylines Margaret Mahy lecture



2017 Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal winnerMM Medal Winner 2017 Des Hunt-33-9382

Des Hunt, of Coromandel, was the 2017 winner of the prestigious Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award for lifetime achievement and a distinguished contribution to New Zealand children’s literature and literacy. Des presented the 2017 Margaret Mahy lecture and received his award at the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal and National Awards Day on 2 April.

Read more about Des here
Read his lecture, "Stories Out Loud" here.


Watch the video of his lecture here.

Previous recipients of the Storylines Margaret Mahy Award are:


The Storylines Trust and Foundation together comprise New Zealand's only national organisation working year-round specifically to promote children's and young adult literature through an annual Festival in six regions, author awards, publications, advocacy and other activities ... 



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