About Madeleine L’Engle (1918-2007)

Madeleine was born on November 29th, 1918, and spent her formative years in New York City. Instead of her school work, she found that she would much rather be writing stories, poems and journals for herself, which was reflected in her grades (not the best). However, she was not discouraged.

At age 12, she moved to the French Alps with her parents and went to an English boarding school where, thankfully, her passion for writing continued to grow. She flourished during her high school years back in the United States at Ashley Hall in Charleston, South Carolina, vacationing with her mother in a rambling old beach cottage on a beautiful stretch of Florida Beach.

She went to Smith College and studied English with some wonderful teachers as she read the classics and continued her own creative writing. She graduated with honors and moved into a Greenwich Village apartment in New York. She worked in the theater, where Equity union pay and a flexible schedule afforded her the time to write! She published her first two novels during these years—A Small Rain and Ilsa—before meeting Hugh Franklin, her future husband, when she was an understudy in Anton Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard. They married during The Joyous Season.

She had a baby girl and kept on writing, eventually moving to Connecticut to raise the family away from the city in a small dairy farm village with more cows than people. They bought a dead general store, and brought it to life for 9 years. They moved back to the city with three children, and Hugh revitalized his professional acting career.

As the years passed and the children grew, Madeleine continued to write and Hugh to act, and they to enjoy each other and life. Madeleine began her association with the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, where she was  the librarian and maintained an office for more than thirty years. After Hugh’s death in 1986, it was her writing and lecturing that kept her going. She lived through the 20th century and into the 21st and wrote over 60 books. She enjoyed being with her friends, her children, her grandchildren, and her great grandchildren.

Many of her papers are at Wheaton College in Illinois.

Obituary from The New York Times.


Selected Speeches


Selected Articles & Interviews


Awards

  • 1963: A Wrinkle in Time – John Newbery Medal
  • 1964: A Wrinkle in Time – runner-up, Hans Christian Anderson Award
  • 1965: A Wrinkle in Time – Sequoyah Award
  • 1965: A Wrinkle in Time – Lewis Carroll Shelf Award
  • 1969: The Moon By Night – Austrian State Literary Prize
  • 1971: Camilla – Austrian State Literary Prize
  • 1974: New England Round Table of Children’s Literature Honor Certificate
  • 1978: A Wind in the Door – Learning A-V Award
  • 1978: The Irrational Season – Seabury Lenten Selection for 1978
  • 1979: The Weather of the Heart – National Religious Book Award
  • 1980: A Ring of Endless Light – a Newbery Honor Book
  • 1980: A Swiftly Tilting Planet – American book Award
  • 1980: Ladder of Angels – National Religious Book Award
  • 1981: A Ring of Endless Light – Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award
  • 1981: A Ring of Endless Light – Nominated for John Newbery Medal
  • 1981: A Swiftly Tilting Planet – Newbery Honor Award
  • 1982: A Ring of Endless Light – California Young Reader Medal
  • 1983: A Ring of Endless Light – Colorado Children’s Book Award
  • 1984: Regina Medal from the Catholic Library Association
  • 1986: ALAN Award for Outstanding Contribution to Adolescent Literature from the National Council of Teachers of English
  • 1986: Weisenberg School Book Award
  • 1990: Kerlan Award
  • 1997: World Fantasy Convention, lifetime achievement
  • 1998: Margaret A. Edwards Award, lifetime achievement
  • 1998: Sophia Award, School of Spiritual Psychology
  • 1999: Wisdom House Award

Honors

  • 1949: And Both Were Young – New York Times ten best books of 1949
  • 1978: University of Mississippi Medallion
  • 1980: Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Gordon College, Wenham, Massachusetts
  • 1982: Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • 1983: Honorary Doctor of Letters from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio
  • 1984: Honorary Doctorate of Sacred Theology from Berkeley Divinity School, Berkeley, California
  • 1984: Honorary Doctor of Literature from Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois
  • 1984: Honorary Doctor of Literature from Wilson College, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania
  • 1985: Regina Medal
  • 1986: Honorary Doctor of Letters from Smith College, Northhampton, Massachusetts
  • 1986: Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Virginia Theological Seminary, Lynchburg, Virginia
  • 1987: Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from St. Joseph College in West Hartford, Connecticut
  • 1989: Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Manhattanville College, Purchase, New York
  • 1991: Honorary Doctor of Literature from Linfield College, McMinnville, Oregon
  • 1994: Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut
  • 1994: Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of the South, Sewanee, Tennessee
  • 1996: Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Elon College, Elon College, North Carolina
  • 1996: Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Rhode Island, Kingston Rhode Island
  • 1999: Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah
  • 2000: Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania