Margaret Mahy talks to Karen Tay about awards, adventures and inspiration
Karen Tay spoke with Margaret Mahy and, amongst other things, wrote: “Folk and fairy tales form the basis for many of her stories. When her daughters were young she read to them most nights and now reads to her six grandchildren.
“Sometimes I would tell them stories that were my own, but the ones I felt the most liberation in telling were other people’s stories. I suppose I just felt a bit freer with them.”
She compares stories such as Catalogue of the Universe to the folk tale about the frog prince, who is transformed into a human by the kiss of the heroine.
“Although there’s no supernatural events, it seems in a way that it has a folk tale element. I didn’t plan it that way, but I think it automatically creeps in. Some of those stories have been so fundamental they’re imprinted in me.”
Mahy has retained a forever-young sense of humour. She has a tattoo of a pirate skull holding a rose between its teeth that she had done well after she had children.
Her mother had warned her against getting tattooed but she dismissed her advice.
“I was middle-aged and thinking, ‘I won’t be sorry later’. I might have been if I was 17. When I was a child, I loved pirate stories and a small pirate tattoo seemed like a good joke I was having with myself.” ”