Margaret Mahy was born on March 21, 1936 in Whakatane, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. She received a B.A. degree from the University of New Zealand. She worked as a nurse, an assistant librarian, and a children's librarian in England and New Zealand. Her first book, A Lion in the Meadow, was published in 1969. She became a full-time author in 1980. During her lifetime, she wrote more than 120 children's books including The Haunting, The Changeover, Memory, The Seven Chinese Brothers, and The Man Whose Mother Was a Pirate. She won the Esther Glen Award five times, the Carnegie Medal of the British Library Association three times, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, Hans Christian Andersen Award, and in 1999, she won the New Zealand Post Children's Book Award in two categories, Picture Book and Supreme Award. She died after a brief illness on July 23, 2012 at the age of 76.