The Life and Works of

Madeleine L'Engle



Madeleine L’Engle began her writing career at a young age and used many of her life experiences to create the characters children have come to know and love. Born an only child of older parents, she watched as her father slowly died from gas he was subjected to in World War I. Her young adult years were somewhat painful and awkward, but she was able to translate this into her characters. Her first successful novel, Meet the Austins, was very similar to her own family life with her husband and children. After this accomplishment came such books as A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind at the Door, and A Swiftly Tilting Planet. Much of her success is due to the fact that she does not shy away from controversial themes or ideas. She widely embraces and includes them in all of her novels.

Though best known for her work on children’s novels, Madeleine L’Engle has also taught, performed on the stage, and is a devout Episcopalian. Many of her works on Christianity are published in books and magazines. She is also a writer-in-residence at the Catherine of St. John the Divine Episcopal Church in New York City. By using these facets of her life, Madeleine L’Engle has been able to create unique characters that will continue to enthrall children in years to come.



This pathfinder is meant for teachers and librarians who are interested in introducing children to Madeleine L’Engle. Included are books, articles, reviews, and Web Sites that will provide information on her life and her works. This pathfinder is an introduction to Madeleine L’Engle as a writer, speaker, and proponent of children’s literature. The information used can be found in the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Libraries as well as the World Wide Web.


Introduction and Scope

Created for INLS 111 by Rita Bhattacharyya

School of Information and Library Science

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill

Last Updated December 9, 2003

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