Biography of Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007)
Madeleine L'Engle was born in New York City in 1918. Much like the main character in her novel A Wrinkle in Time, Meg Murry, L'Engle was not a particularly gifted student though she excelled in arts and writing. She married Hugh Franklin, an actor, and they lived in both New York City and Connecticut where L'Engle did the majority of her writing.
Here first novel, A Wrinkle in Time was written after L'Engle read the writings of Albert Einstein as well as other physicists and scientists. The book was rejected numerous times by publishers before finally finding a home. Ironically, then, it went on to become one of the best- selling children's novels of all time and earned L'Engle numerous awards and accolades. She continued writing, serving as writer-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York.
L'Engle's major novels are divided up into two series, the "kairos" series which follows the adventures of the Murry and O'Keefe families, and the "chronos" series which follows the Austin family. Both series combine elements of fantasy with the intersections of science and faith and have joined the ranks of the most popular children's novels of all time.
L'Engle's faith also played a significant role in her work. An Episcopalian for most of her life, L'Engle's work was criticized by religious conservatives for being too secular and for its espousal of universalism, the idea that all persons will be saved by God. Meanwhile, liberal critics had their own gripes with L'Engle, claiming her work was far too religious in nature for young readers.
L'Engle's career as a writer spanned several decades and in addition to her children's novels, she also wrote several books of non-fiction, including a series of memoirs and books on writing. After suffering a car crash in the early 90s, and then enduring medical difficulties later in life which limited her writing and speaking engagements, L'Engle passed away in 2007.