"...Words are cheap and thoughts are free, but the art to enchant is nothing like the sun..."
Margaret H.L. Lim
Margaret Lim was born in Kuching, capital of Sarawak on the Island of Borneo, two years after WWII formally came to an end. Sarawak, once ruled by three generations of “White Rajahs”, originally belonged to Brunei, whose ruler gave it to the first Brooke out of gratitude for putting down piracy in the waters there. The third and last of the Brookes presented Sarawak to the British Crown after the War. Sarawak remained a Crown Colony until 1963 when it became a part of Malaysia.
Margaret went to St. Teresa’s Convent School for Girls, from kindergarten till Form Five, after which she went across the road to St. Joseph’s School for Boys where, after Lower Six and Upper Six as it was then called. She sat for the Cambridge Higher School Certificate Examinations and later graduated from the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, with a degree in English Literature. She also had a degree in Education from Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Margaret returned to Sarawak and taught Shakespeare and Thomas Hardy and “current modern” William Golding at Marudi Secondary School on the edge of the rainforest.
"My dream was to be a librarian – I would order books at the expense of the Education/Culture Ministry, read them first before conscientiously classifying them under the Dewey System, then getting others to shelve them. Or a Museum Curator. Dream on!" - Margaret Lim.
She lived with her husband and children in Germany and made many trips back to Malaysia where the first thing she would do is to make a round of restaurants serving local food. She was crazy about Nonya Kueh. She had no pets, only the birds that come and go in her garden – black birds, robins, thrushes, wrens and finches that sing so sweetly, and many that don’t, woodpeckers, magpies, daws and pigeons. "I have also heard an owl call “to-whiih” but not the “who” that Horton heard. And I have never heard the owl call my name." - Margaret Lim (in reference to “I Heard The Owl Call My Name” by Margaret Craven).
On Mother's Day 2011, Margaret Lim passed away peacefully in the arms of her loving husband and children. She had lost the fight against cancer and ended her journey on earth, leaving behind lovely memories in her families' and fans' hearts.
At the IBBY Conference in September 2010, in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) honoured Maragert Lim and her daughter, Su Jen Buchheim by placing NONAH (the last of the PAYAH rainforest adventure series) on its 2010 Honour List.