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Monday, November 29, 2021

'Write What Wants to be Written'

“With each book I write, I become more and more convinced that the books have a life of their own, quite apart from me.  A book comes and says, 'Write me.' My job is to try to serve it to the best of my ability, which is never good enough, but all I can do is listen to it, do what it tells me and collaborate.” – Madeleine L’Engle

A native of New York City, L’Engle was born this day in 1918.  Her “collaboration” with her writing muse led to the Newbery Medal-winning A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels: A Wind in the Door, the National Book Award-winning A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, and An Acceptable Time. 

Although she wrote her first story at the age of 5, she didn’t write A Wrinkle In Time – her first novel – until age 42.  In 2012 the book was voted by  Library Journal readers as the Number 2 children’s book of all time (behind Charlotte’s Web).
The book was rejected 30 times before acceptance.    
Of course, once accepted, it opened the floodgates for her as a writer.  She wrote dozens of books for both children and adults in the 1960s, '70s and '80s.  And, it mattered not to her whether it was for one age group or the other.

“You have to write the book that wants to be written,” she said. “And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you simply write it for children."


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