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New Zealand children’s author Margaret Mahy has died in Christchurch at the age of 76 after a short illness.

Mahy (above, pictured in 2003 reading from Harry Potter) wrote her first book at the age of seven, and enjoyed a prolific career that saw her pen more than 120 books, with her work translated into 15 languages.

“One of New Zealand’s greatest-ever writers,” said former NZ publisher and book blogger Graham Beattie of the famed children’s author.

Mahy's first published novel was A Lion in the Meadow in 1969. She won numerous awards for children’s literature during the course of her career, including a Carnegie Medal and the Hans Christian Andersen Award,

Mahy graduated from Auckland University College and Canterbury University College in 1955, before then attending the New Zealand Library School, where she received her Librarian’s Diploma. She went on to work for the Petone Public Library.

She finally became a full time writer in 1980.

Photo: Getty

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A Lion in the Meadow author Margaret Mahy dies in Christchurch, aged 76
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