Happy 50th birthday to tesseracts and Mrs Whatsit


“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” -- Madeleine L'Engle

She was living proof that not all Christian young adult authors feel the need to concoct elaborate vampire metaphors decrying sexual intimacy. Madeleine L'Engle, in fact, counts as one of the most beloved writers among religious and secular readers of youn adult lit alike (well, some religious people -- others condemned her depictions of crystal balls and treatment of Jesus as a learned man.) Her Wrinkle in Time turns the ripe old age of 50 this year, and the SF Public Library has drummed up a line-up of authors just as devoted to its tesseract-traveling plot as you are to commemorate its golden anniversary

For proof that Wrinkle's power has hardly taken that tesseract elsewhere, one need only head to 100 Larkin on Sat/13 to hear from a lineup of authors and artists who have been inspired by L'Engle's most famous work. Rebecca Stead, Gennifer Choldenko, Lewis Buzbee, and Hope Larson, the latter of whom recently released a graphic novel adaptation of Wrinkle, will be talking about how the tale of Meg and Charles Wallace Murray helped guide their creative careers. 

L'Engle went from bit role player on Broadway, to celebrated author, to Connecticut general store owner when she and her partner moved to a dairy village to take a break from the hustle and bustle of NYC. Right as she was discovering her Christian faith, she found herself unable to drum up publishers' interest in her 11th novel, Meet The Austins. That book began with a death, which apparently wasn't an easy sell in the children's lit scene in those days (as, one would think, it continues to be now.) She wrote another book, and then, Wrinkle in Time. In 1979, she told Christianity Today:

It was rejected and rejected. I would put the kids to bed, walk down the dirt road in front of the house, weep, and yell at God. I'd say, "God, why are you letting me have all of these rejection slips? You know it's a good book. I wrote it for you." 

Of course, it was eventually picked up. And, as you can see from the multitudinous book covers we dug up (above), it's been republished again and again. We love centaurs, and we love Wrinkle. Plus, (as Larson reminds in a recent Huffington Post piece) who else wrote books in 1962 in which the female protagonist spent the entirety of the plot with a black eye? L'Engle's Meg saved the universe, which we enjoy on a daily basis.

Wrinkle in Time 50th anniversary celebration

Sat/13 2pm, free

San Francisco Main Library

100 Larkin, SF


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