Madeleine L’Engle was born in 1918 and spent her formative years in New York City. At age 12, she moved to the French Alps with her parents and went to an English boarding school. She went to Smith College and studied English and continued her own creative writing. She graduated with honors and moved into a Greenwich Village apartment in New York.
L’Engle worked in the theater and published her first two novels during these years. She met Hugh Franklin, her future husband, when she was an understudy in Anton Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard. Her writing won John Newbery medals, the National Book Award, and achievement awards in her field of writing and education. She lived through the 20th century and into the 21st and wrote over 60 books before her death at age 98.
A charmed life you think?
She told how suffering a “lonely solitude” as a child taught her about the “world of the imagination” that enabled her to write for children.
Even though it ended up winning the 1963 Newbery Medal and became a beloved classic, A Wrinkle In Time was rejected 26 times by publishers.
Madeleine L’Engle almost gave up writing when she turned 40 because of discouragement over rejections. “With all the hours I spent writing, I was still not pulling my own weight financially.”
Later, she suffered a “decade of failure” after her first books were published.
Her son, Bion Franklin, died from the effects of extended alcoholism.
Lengle’s published journals recount sorrows, disappointments, death, struggle, and hope.
In 2013, a crater on Mercury was named after L’Engle–she would have loved that.
Even when others reject you. Even when resources are thin. Even though it takes a long, long time, take a page from Madeleine L’Engle’ s life-book and keep going.
Becoming Madeleine L’Engle: A Biography will be released in February 2018.