Biography of E.L. Konigsburg

Born on February 20, 1930, Elaine Lobl Konigsburg earned degrees in chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh. She taught science at a girl's school, and later had three children - Paul, Laurie, and Ross - with her husband David.

In her Newbery Medal acceptance speech in 1968, Konigsburg noted that she immersed herself in the study of science as a young woman. It was only later, after she was married and had children, that she allowed her creative side to have freer reign.

During the 1960s, Konigsburg would drop her children off at the galleries of the Metropolitan Museum of Art while she took a painting class elsewhere in the museum. After she finished, she would reunite with her children and the four of them would tour the museum together. It is partially these adventures that inspired her to write The Mixed Up Files.

Konigsburg published Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth and From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler in 1967. She won the Newbery Medal for The Mixed Up Files and was nominated for another Newbery for Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth. She is the only person in history to receive this double honor. She won the Newbery Medal again in in 1997 for The View From Saturday. E.L. Konigsburg is one of the very few writers ever to have received two Newbery Medals for her books.

E.L. Konigsburg became known for her commitment to portraying more complex characters and difficult situations than were reflected in most children's literature. Marah Gubar notes that, "For five decades, Konigsburg challenged readers by tackling subjects often avoided in children’s books, from the undercurrent of hostility that runs through an interracial friendship to the domestic unrest generated by the stirrings of pubescent and parental sexuality." Konigsburg's child characters are often extremely intelligent and capable, and problems arise when the adults in their lives do not notice the children's capabilities.

E.L. Konigsburg died on April 12, 2013 of a stroke.

Study Guides on Works by E.L. Konigsburg