Here’s a snapshot of Robin’s life with the key events listed. To see other prizes she has won, check out the booklist – and read Letters from Robin, too, of course!
1936 Born 28 February, in Kempsey, NSW, the eighth of nine children of Leslie and Mary McMaugh.
1952 First short story published in New Idea magazine.
1956 Now living in Melbourne, Robin marries Karl Klein and has four children between 1958-1968.
1977 Starts writing again (having abandoned her craft and thrown away her apprentice work) and is published in The School Magazine and the Australian Women’s Weekly.
1978 First book, The Giraffe in Pepperrell Street (illus by Gill Tomblin), is published and wins a prize at the prestigious Bologna Book Fair in Italy.
1981 Now divorced, and having worked in a school to support youngest child, Rosalind, Robin receives a Literature Board Grant and begins writing full-time.
1983 Thing (illus by Alison Lester) wins the CBCA Junior Book of the Year Award – and five new books are published, including …
1984 Awarded second Literature Board Grant which allows Robin to spend time developing longer manuscripts.
1985 First overseas trip to the UK, which inspires Penny Pollard’s Passport.
1986 Hating Alison Ashley: The Play, adapted by Richard Tulloch, is first staged.
1990 Came Back to Show You I Could Fly wins the CBCA Book of the Year: Older Readers and the Human Rights Award for Literature.
1991 Robin wins the Dromkeen Medal, ‘For her broad contribution to Australian children’s literature as a writer; her versatility, and her unerring and uncanny knack of communicating emphatically with children of all ages; and for the range and deftness of her writing.’
1992 All in the Blue Unclouded Weather wins the Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature in NSW.
1994 TV adaptation of Halfway Across the Galaxy and Turn Left is screened by Channel 7 and the tie-in sequel, Turn Right for Zyrgon, is published.
1998 The Listmaker wins the SA Festival Award for Literature.
1999 Robin suffers an aneurysm, which she survives, but which leaves her unable to write or promote her books.
2004 Robin is awarded an honorary Doctorate (Doctor of Letters – Honoris Causa), from the University of Newcastle.
2009 Thing and Thingnapped are reissued by Puffin Books in a new format.
2013 Hating Alison Ashley is reissued as part of Penguin Australia’s ‘Australian Children’s Classics’ library.
2017 Text Publishing reissue the Melling sisters trilogy and Came Back to Show You I Could Fly in their Classics series.
Today, Robin lives in regional Victoria, near her elder son Michael and his wife Janine.