Celebrating the legacy of author Madeleine L’Engle
Thursday marked what would have been the 100th birthday of beloved author Madeleine L’Engle, who died in 2007.
L’Engle’s writing transcends genre. Her writing portfolio boasts poetry, plays and books on an array of topics, including science, religion, fantasy, philosophy and autobiography. She may be best remembered by her children’s fiction (“A Wrinkle in Time” is in its 69th printing).
However, young and old alike find meaning in her work. Pervasive in her work are themes of good versus evil, and the imperative to approach the world with curiosity and love.
L’Engle dabbled in writing from an early age, penning her first story at age 5. During her earliest years, she often neglected her school grades in favor of crafting stories. When she won a poetry contest in fifth grade, her teacher accused her of plagiarism. To clear the charges, her mother presented the teacher with a stack of L’Engle’s stories from home.
As L’Engle grew, so too did her passion for writing. In high school, her grades and personal writing reached equilibrium, and she flourished. L’Engle graduated with honors from Smith College in Massachusetts, then moved into a Greenwich Village apartment where she penned plays and acted on the stage. It was during these years that her first two novels were published.
“A Wrinkle in Time,” for which she won the prestigious Newbery Medal, was rejected 26 times before being published in 1963. Its publication cemented her place in literary history.
As we honor the 100th birthday of this literary giant, her grandchildren celebrate it with a special birthday gift of their own. Together, Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Léna Roy drew upon L’Engle’s journals to write “Becoming Madeleine,” a juvenile biography about their grandmother.
Though written for children, adults also will find it inspirational — a fitting tribute to a woman who once said, “If it’s not good enough for adults, it’s not good enough for children.”
All five books in the
Time Quintet, starting with “A Wrinkle in Time,” are available at the Manatee County libraries. Our libraries offer audiobook versions of the first three books as well.
If you would like to approach the story in a different format, try “A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel.” This adaption is also available in Spanish under the title “Una Arruga en el Tiempo.”
Through our digital collection, patrons can access “A Study Guide for Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time.” The digital collection also offers the soundtrack for the recently released “A Wrinkle in Time” movie. The 2003 TV movie of “A Wrinkle in Time” and the 2018 big screen adaption are both available through the library system.
Adults may be more interested in her novel “Meet the Austins” and its sequels.
For those preferring nonfiction, try “Two-part Invention: The Story of a Marriage.” This memoir documents L’Engle’s 40year marriage to famous stage and television actor Hugh Franklin.
All these titles can be accessed through the Manatee County library system found at mymanatee.org/library.