November 29 - Happy Birthday, Madeleine L'Engle

Posted on November 29, 2018

A Wrinkle in Time was one of my very favorite books, when I was a kid. I was thrilled when a major motion picture was made of the book - and I quite liked the movie! It stuck pretty closely to the feel of the book, if you know what I mean...

The author of this science fiction award-winning book is Madeleine L'Engle, who was born in New York City on this date in 1918.

L'Engle wrote her first story at age 5 and began to write journal entries about her own life at age 8. That's really early on the writing front, especially since many kids aren't even reading at 5, let alone writing. You'd think such an early start as a writer would guarantee her good grades, right?

Not so. She was apparently shy, and some teachers thought her quiet shyness was actually stupidity. She ended up going from school to school and even had governesses instead of attending school. All this skipping about, schoolwise, happened partly because of her lack of success at school and partly because her family traveled a lot and lived in several different places as well. Her father suffered from lung damage from chemical warfare during World War I, and some of the relocations occurred in an effort to help him. 

So...being the new kid in school, when you're shy...
Having lots of interruptions in schooling, and different curricula and teachers and classmates and and and...
Being thought of as stupid, or ignorant, or a bad student...

You can see why L'Engle wanted to escape all of that by reading and writing fiction, right?

As a college graduate and a married woman, L'Engle continued to write and to submit her novels even as she helped run a family-owned general store, became a teacher, and raised her family. Her books kept getting rejected. As a matter of fact, A Wrinkle in Time was rejected more than 30 times before it was finally published. 

Eventually, though, that "more than 30" statistic became the number of books L'Engle succeeded in publishing!

Here are a few of the honors L'Engle has earned for her writing:

Newbery Medal
Regina Medal
ALAN Award
Sophia Award
Kerlan Award
Margaret A. Edwards Award
National Humanities Medal
Lifetime Achievement from the World Fantasy Awards
New York Writers Hall of Fame

several honorary degrees, medals, and medallions from universities

being chosen writer-in-residence for several programs
being elected president of the Authors Guild

and...a crater on Mercury is named for her!

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