Margaret Mahy Illustration Prize back for 2020

Hachette NZ and The Margaret Mahy Estate are delighted to announce the return of the Margaret Mahy Illustration Prize for a second year.

MM Illustration PrizeThe 2019 Margaret Mahy Illustration Prize was a great success with over 140 expressions of interest and many fantastic submissions. Winner Sarah Greig’s beautiful re-illustration of The Boy with Two Shadows will be published this October.

The 2020 Margaret Mahy Illustration Prize offers a unique opportunity for an unpublished New Zealand-based illustrator to illustrate Mahy’s classic The Boy Who Made Things Up, originally published in 1982.

Illustrators are invited to interpret this gorgeous story exploring a child’s innate desire to share their imaginary world with a parent.

The Margaret Mahy Estate and Hachette NZ encourage illustrators to think as creatively as possible, particularly in the use of colour, shape and form. Bridget Mahy, Head of the Mahy Estate, says: “The story is simply told, yet offers up scope for an illustrator to depict a father on a journey of hesitantly leaving a set of attitudes behind to follow his young son’s colourful imaginings. There is room to play with colour, shape and form as the father transitions from one state of mind to another.”

Working closely with the Margaret Mahy Estate, Hachette NZ will award a $1000 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 and honour the 50th anniversary of Mahy’s children’s picture book classic, A Lion in the Meadow.


WINNER ANNOUNCED: 27th August 2020

Terms & Conditions will be available on

2019 Margaret Mahy Illustration Prize winner Sarah Grieg shares her top tips for a winning entry:

  • I’m not going to lie, it is a lot of work and dedication to complete a submission like this but getting your work in the hands of publishing experts is invaluable and can lead to some pretty amazing opportunities. With the storyboard and final artworks, you are showing your whole process and what you are capable of.

  • Give yourself a deadline and try to stick to it. I find that if I have three months to finish something, it will take me the full three months. If I have two weeks, I will somehow squeeze the same amount of work in.

  • Read some kids’ books and read to kids. They are the best critics because they are honest!

  • No matter what happens, it is all part of your journey, and you learn from every drawing you make.

  • Have fun with it ꟷ have a laugh!