The Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal is awarded annually for lifetime achievement and an outstanding contribution to New Zealand children’s literature.
"Barbara Else’s early achievements were in adult fiction," says Storylines chair Dr Libby Limbrick, "but since her first novel for children in 1997 she has built up a solid body of work. Alongside her four children’s novels, she has edited nine top-selling anthologies of short stories for young and teenage readers, providing them with a huge variety of new stories and new writers with publishing opportunities.
"As a leading literary agent and assessor with her husband Chris Else since 1988, she has also guided many aspiring children’s writers towards literary careers. Her work for children’s literature also includes plays, short stories and judging of national book and short story awards."
Among Barbara Else’s many awards are Writer in Residence at Victoria University of Wellington, a Creative New Zealand Scholarship in Letters and in 2005 a MNZOM for services to literature. She is currently in Dunedin as holder of the University of Otago’s residency for children’s writers, the only one offered by a New Zealand university.
Previous winners of the Margaret Mahy Medal, instituted in 1991, have included Dorothy Butler, Joy Cowley, David Hill, Kate de Goldi, Fleur Beale, illustrators Lynley Dodd and Gavin Bishop and international Kids' Lit Quizmaster Wayne Mills.
The award also includes the presentation of a public lecture to be given by Barbara Else, at the University of Auckland Epsom Campus on Sunday, 3rd April 2016.