Margaret Mahy Illustration Prize returns for 2021

Margaret Mahy Illustration Prize 2021

Hachette Aotearoa New Zealand and the Margaret Mahy Estate are delighted to announce the return of the Margaret Mahy Illustration Prize for a third year.

The Margaret Mahy Illustration Prize is one of New Zealand’s pre-eminent illustration prizes with 384 expressions of interest and 62 final entries in 2020. The winning illustrator, Lily Emo’s re-illustration of The Boy that Made Things Up will be published this August.

The Margaret Mahy Illustration Prize 2021 offers a unique opportunity for an unpublished New Zealand-based illustrator to illustrate Mahy’s classic children’s story There’s A King in the Cupboard.

Originally published as part of a collection, The Boy Who Bounced and Other Magic Tales, the story was simplified into an early reader in 2015.

For the first time, There’s A King in the Cupboard will be made into a picture book. 

Illustrators are asked to explore a little girl called Sarah’s new home and a very magical cupboard under her stairs.

The Margaret Mahy Estate and Hachette Aotearoa New Zealand encourage illustrators to think as creatively as possible, particularly around the use of colour, shape, and form.

Bridget Mahy, Manager of the Mahy Estate says “Children’s imaginative insights into the ordinary world are a pleasure to experience. On occasion a child asks for a moment of our time and encourages us to walk alongside them, to see the world in joyful and entertaining ways. Mahy reminds us that adults don’t need to neglect their own immense capacity to imagine. This is what we look for in the winner of the Margaret Mahy Illustration Prize each year”

Working closely with the Margaret Mahy Estate, Hachette Aotearoa New Zealand 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.



SUBMISSIONS OPEN 25th March 2021



WINNER ANNOUNCED 26th August 2021

Terms & Conditions will be available at from 25th March 2021.