The Margaret Mahy Illustration Prize 2024 is now open

The Margaret Mahy Illustration Prize 2024 is now open

Hachette Aotearoa New Zealand, local children’s imprint Little Moa and the Margaret Mahy Estate are proud to announce the return of the Margaret Mahy Illustration Prize for its sixth year.

Launched in 2019, the Margaret Mahy Illustration Prize is one of New Zealand’s leading illustration prizes with over 1500 entries since its inception. The prize has since paved the way for nine emerging artists to have their illustrations published by Hachette Aotearoa New Zealand and Little Moa.

2023 Illustration prize winner, Alba Gil Celdrán, re-imagined Margaret Mahy’s colourful and bold story 17 Kings and 42 Elephants, which will be published this August.

This year the Margaret Mahy Illustration Prize once again creates a unique opportunity for an unpublished New Zealand-based artist to illustrate Mahy’s work.  The 2024 title is a much-loved and perennial international bestseller, The Great White Man-Eating Shark. Originally published in 1989, this classic story has been a favourite for generations.

The Margaret Mahy Estate, Hachette Aotearoa New Zealand and Little Moa are excited to see local illustrators take a bite at the opportunity and bring The Great Man-Eating Shark to life with colour, adventure, and humour.

Hachette Aotearoa NZ Managing Director Mel Winder says “This book is a hot favourite in our house, it has all the elements that make Margaret’s books great; a cautionary tale mixed with lashing of imagination, colour, word play and laughs.”

“Bridget Mahy, Manager of the Mahy Estate says the inspiration for The Great White Man Eating Shark had it’s humble beginnings in a packed public pool, “In the late '80s, Margaret was working her way through a busy book tour of the USA and found herself sitting on the edge of a hotel pool. Fellow hotel patrons happily floated by, but Margaret found herself wanting the pool all to herself. She began to imagine ways to get the other swimmers to leave and visualised herself swiftly and hungrily cruising through the water like a shark, ready to bite unsuspecting swimmers and frighten them out of the water. She was entertained by this image, and not long after returning to New Zealand, Margaret delighted in reading me the draft of a humorously subversive story involving Norvin and the innocent swimmers of Caramel Cove. Norvin’s tale is a ‘cautionary’ one, and while Margaret never got to shoot through the water 'like a silver arrow,’ both she and Norvin undoubtedly shared sharkish thoughts.”

Working closely with the Margaret Mahy Estate, Hachette Aotearoa New Zealand and Little Moa will award a $2000 cash prize, a $500 library of books and the opportunity for this project to be developed into a published picture book.

The Margaret Mahy Illustration Prize was launched in 2019 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Mahy’s children’s picture book classic, A Lion in the Meadow.


Competition Opens: Wednesday, 20 March 2024

Entries Close: Thursday, 27 July 2024

Shortlist Announcement: Thursday, 22 August 2024     

Winner Announcement: Thursday, 29 August 2024

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