|Photo by David Hamilton 2017|
Mandy Hager is a multi-award winning writer of fiction, predominantly for young adults. She has won the LIANZA Book Awards for Young Adult fiction 3 times (‘Smashed’ 2008, ‘The Nature of Ash’ 2013, ‘Dear Vincent’ 2014), the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards for YA fiction (‘The Crossing’ 2010), an Honour Award in the 1996 AIM Children’s Book Awards (‘Tom’s Story’), Golden Wings Excellence Award (‘Juno Lucina,’ 2002), Golden Wings Award (‘Run For The Trees’, 2003) and Five Notable Book Awards. She has also been awarded the 2012 Beatson Fellowship, the 2014 Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship and the 2015 Waikato University Writer in Residence. In 2015 her novel ‘Singing Home the Whale’ was awarded the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year award, and the Best Young Adult fiction Award from the NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. It has also been named a 2016 IBBY Honour Book, an international award.
She is a trained teacher, with an Advanced Diploma in Fine Arts (Whitireia) and an MA in Creative Writing for Victoria University. She also writes adult fiction, short stories, non-fiction, educational resources, blogs and articles, and currently tutors the Novel Course for Whitireia’s Creative Writing Programme.
2017 sees the publication of her historical novel for adults, Heloise, published by Penguin NZ. It tells the life story of Heloise D'Argenteuil, famed lover of 12th century French philosopher Peter Abelard.
The longer, more personal version!
Mandy was born in 1960 in Levin, New Zealand. Her father, Kurt, was born in Vienna, Austria, and her mother, Barbara, in Zanzibar, East Africa. They met in Otaki, and spent most of their married life in Levin, where Mandy’s father established a clothing factory. She is the third child of four - with two sisters and one brother. They were raised with a strong sense of social justice – something her brother Nicky Hager has built on to become an internationally renowned investigative journalist, writer, and commentator. Her sister Debbie has a PhD in Health Promotion and lectures in Health Promotion at Auckland University, works tirelessly for abused and mentally ill women in Auckland, and her sister Belinda is a contemporary jeweller with an MA in Conservation Studies (Metalwork) who is currently teaching Metal Conservation at West Dean, England.
Mandy is married to Brian, and has two adult children: Thom and Rose and has recently become a doting granny to Leo. She lives on an acre of land on the Kapiti Coast, New Zealand.
She started her professional life as a teacher, before specialising in the teaching of people with learning difficulties. As well as her Teaching Diploma, she has an Advanced Diploma in Applied Arts (Writing) from Whitireia Polytechnic and a MA in Creative Writing from Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand. She has also worked as a youth education officer, a research assistant, a tertiary-level writing tutor, and continues to work as a writing tutor, mentor and assessor, as well as a freelance writer. Her books have won several awards. In 2014 she was awarded the Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship, one of NZs oldest and most prestigious writing awards, which enabled her to spend 6 months living in Menton, in the South of France as she researched a new project. In 2015 she was awarded Writer in Residence at Waikato University, Hamilton, NZ., where she worked on the first draft of her historical novel for adults, Heloise (Penguin NZ, 2017.)
A strong desire to ‘say something’ through her writing permeates everything Mandy writes. She tries to convince others (and herself!) to remain hopeful in the face of daunting global issues. Her favourite quote, and the tenet by which she lives, comes from Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."