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Congratulations Diana Noonan, winner of Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal 2022

Diana Noonan, author of Half My Life, has been announced as the winner of the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal 2022. It is awesome to see another of our authors recognised in this way (OneTree House authors David Hill and Mandy Hager are previous winners). When we say our writers are the top of their field we mean it!

From the Storylines release about her win:

Writer Diana Noonan, author of more than 100 titles for children and young adults, is the 2022 winner of the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal for lifetime achievement and outstanding contribution to New Zealand’s literature for young people.

The premier award is made annually by Storylines Children’s Literature Charitable Trust of New Zealand Te Whare Waituhi Tamariki o Aotearoa.

“Diana’s extraordinary track record and success in publishing a wide range of books and genres, and as an editor, make her a deserving winner of this prestigious award,” says Storylines Trust chair Christine Young.

“Add in her support for the Christchurch earthquake recovery effort with her beautifully written and well-timed Quaky Cat, her tireless work to engage young people with books through school visits, and her numerous guest speaker appearances, and there is little question that Storylines is delighted to honour her with this award.”

Dunedin-born and now resident in the Catlins, Diana graduated from the University of Otago, and taught for four years before committing in mid ’80s to writing full-time. One of New Zealand’s most versatile authors, she has written for radio, television and film as well as picture books, non-fiction and novels for both junior and older readers. She has written extensively for educational programmes and was editor of the School Journal for eight years.

Her debut novel, The Silent People, won the New Zealand Library Association’s 1990 Esther Glen Award, to be followed by a regular outpouring of new works, almost one every year.

Among her best-known titles are A Dolphin in the Bay (Aim Junior Fiction Award), The Best-loved Bear (AIM Picture Book Award), and The Know, Sow & Grow Kids’ Book of Plants (New Zealand Post Non- fiction Award and New Zealand Libraries’ Non-fiction Award, written jointly with her husband Keith Olsen).

Following the 2011 Christchurch earthquake she received the North West Christchurch Award 2012 for services to the community for the picture book Quaky Cat, illustrated by Gavin Bishop, which raised over $150,000 for the Christchurch earthquake appeal.

Many of her books have been named as Storylines Notable Books, as well as shortlisted for the major New Zealand children’s literature prizes. Her 1996 book Hercules was shortlisted for the Australian Wilderness Society Environment Award for Children's Literature. Her latest book, a gritty young adult novel titled Half My Life, was published by OneTree House in 2020.

Writer in Residence in 1993 at the Dunedin College of Education, Diana has been a regular visitor for more than three decades to schools for Storylines and Read New Zealand, and guest speaker at numerous libraries, conferences, book festivals and writers' workshops.

The Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal and Lecture Award is acknowledged as New Zealand’s premier award for children’s and young adult writers. Previous winners since the award’s inception in 1991 have included authors Joy Cowley, Maurice Gee, David Hill, Fleur Beale, Mandy Hager, illustrators Gavin Bishop and David Elliot, publishers Ann Mallinson and Julia Marshall, and Kids’ Lit quizmaster Wayne Mills.

The award will be presented to Diana Noonan at Storylines’ annual Margaret Mahy National Awards Day in Auckland on 3 April 2022.

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