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Madeleine L'Engle Camp was born in New York City on November 29, 1918 to a pianist mother and writer/critic father. She wrote her first story at age 5 and began keeping a steady journal by age 8. As a child, L’Engle struggled academically and as a result attended many boarding schools and went through a number of governesses. She continued to write for most of her adult life even though she initially was unsatisfied with her progress. “With all the hours I spent writing,” she said, “I was still not pulling my own weight financially.” By her 40th birthday in November of 1958, she was ready to retire from writing. At the same time, her husband Hugh Franklin needed to move the family back to New York City to resume his acting career. The move was proceeded by a 10-week cross-country trip. It was during this trip that Madeline gave writing another try and began her most famous novel A Wrinkle in Time.

A Wrinkle in Time was completed by 1960 but was rejected by publishers 26 times.

According to the Washington Post, “L’Engle would speak for decades about the crisis of confidence she suffered as publisher after publisher swiped left on a manuscript she believed in to her core.” One agent said the book “is strange… something between an adult and a juvenile novel.”

Finally, in 1962, Farrar, Straus & Giroux wanted to publish her book. A Wrinkle in Time hit bookstores in January 1962. One year later it won the Newbery Medal and has been in print continuously ever since. 

Check out A Wrinkle in Time and more by Madeline L’Engle in celebration of National Library Week (April 8-14, 2018). This year’s theme is Libraries Lead!