Cover image for Becoming Madeleine : a biography of the author of A wrinkle in time by her granddaughters
Becoming Madeleine : a biography of the author of A wrinkle in time by her granddaughters
Physical Description:
3 audio discs (2 hr., 50 min.) : CD audio, digital ; 4 3/4 in.
General Note:
Compact discs.
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Added Author:
This elegant and insightful biography of Madeleine L'Engle (1918-2007) was written by her granddaughters, Charlotte Jones Voiklis and Ľna Roy. Using never-before-seen archival materials that include photographs, poems, letters, and journal entries from when Madeleine was a child until just after the publication of her classic, A Wrinkle in Time, her granddaughters weave together an in-depth and unique view of the famous writer. It is a story of overcoming obstacles a lonely childhood, financial insecurity, and countless rejections of her writing and eventual triumph. Becoming Madeleine will speak not only to fans of the icon's work, but also to anyone interested in writing.


Material Type
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Audiobook SCD J 921 LENGLE 3 DISCS 1 1
Audiobook SCD J 921 LENGLE 3 DISCS 1 1
Audiobook SCD J 921 LENGLE 3 DISCS 1 1
Audiobook SCD J 921 LENGLE 3 DISCS 1 1

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This middle-grade biography explores the life and works of Madeleine L'Engle --written by her granddaughters--coming just in time for the all-new A Wrinkle in Time film, directed by Ava DuVernay and featuring a multi-racial cast (release date: March 9, 2018). Madeleine L'Engle (1918--2007) is the beloved author of A Wrinkle in Time , its sequels, and numerous other works for children and adults. Now, her granddaughters have written her biography with never-before-seen archival materials--including photographs, letters, and journal entries--from throughout the writer's life. BECOMING MADELEINE will speak not only to fans of the icon's work, but to anyone interested in writing, legacy, and the impact of one person on the people that love her.

Author Notes

CHARLOTTE JONES VOIKLIS has a PhD in comparative literature and has worked in the academia and nonprofit sector. She lives in New York City with her husband and two children. LENA ROY published her first novel, Edges , in late 2010. She is the regional manager for Writopia Lab in Westchester and Connecticut. She lives in New York. You can visit Lena at

Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-A Wrinkle in Time author Madeleine L'Engle's granddaughters chronicle the gifted artist's life from her birth to 1962, when the novel was published. Using known family history, combined with letters, writings, works, and journals, the authors chronicle their grandmother's struggles in boarding schools, establishing an acting and then a writing career, and marriage. Madeleine is portrayed as a strong, determined, and avant-garde woman. Voiklis and Roy divide the narration, with one voicing the details of Madeleine's life while the other reads her actual writings. Though it would have been improved by professional narrators, the kinship lends an undeniable authenticity to the telling. VERDICT This biography will flesh out many gaps in understanding of the author's background and inspirations.--Debbie Whitbeck, West Ottawa Public Schools, Holland, MI © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publisher's Weekly Review

L'Engle's granddaughters have produced a perceptive look at the prolific author's solitary childhood, gawky adolescence, and early adulthood, concluding in 1961 with FSG acquiring the manuscript of the book that would become A Wrinkle in Time. Making generous use of L'Engle's diary entries (starting when she was 14 and at a Swiss boarding school), correspondence, and memorabilia, the book will appeal to aspiring writers as well as L'Engle's admirers. The liveliest and most engrossing sections focus on L'Engle's young adulthood in New York City as she strove to make a career in the theater and as a novelist. Early successes in both arenas gave way to rejection and frustration, but L'Engle persisted, faithful to her need to write, regardless of publication. At 30, she reflected in her journal: "It is just a necessary function to me like breathing and eating and eliminating. And is one of my greatest joys. And one of my greatest agonies." A personal prologue and a moving epilogue that succinctly touches on L'Engle's later adulthood from her granddaughters' perspective are additional highlights, as are the many photos of the writer and her family. Ages 9-12. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Horn Book Review

During what we hope could be a resurgence of interest in Madeleine LEngle due to the movie release of A Wrinkle in Time, the authors granddaughters present a sweet biography. Although the intended audience is young people, adult fans are the most likely readers of this breezy sketch of LEngles life from childhood through the publication of her most famous book. Not as comprehensive as Leonard S. Marcuss Listening for Madeleine (2012), but nice insight into the artist as a young woman, particularly as demonstrated in her journal entries, generously shared here. roger sutton (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* It's a publishing event when Madeleine L'Engle's granddaughters offer an account of her life as a writer. And they do her proud, organizing the information well, presenting it clearly, and drawing on her journals for the lively excerpts that make this book so very readable. The biographical text provides a sturdy framework, beginning with L'Engle's parents' marriage and ending with the publication of A Wrinkle in Time (1962). An epilogue fills in the main events of L'Engle's later life and includes Voiklis' and Roy's recollections of their grandmother as well as comments on the journals that she kept from the age of 11. Beginning with the reflections of 13-year-old Madeleine attending boarding school in Switzerland, first-person passages appear with increasing length and frequency throughout the narrative. They provide the book's most vivid insights into the writer's mind and emotions through her teens, her college days, her experiences living in Greenwich Village (working for actress-writer-producer Eva Le Gallienne), her marriage with actor Hugh Franklin, and her years as a working mother in rural Connecticut and New York City. The many illustrations include reproductions of family photos as well as letters, playbills, and book jackets. A fine tribute to a legendary writer, 100 years after her birth.--Phelan, Carolyn Copyright 2018 Booklist

New York Review of Books Review

WHEN THE CHILDREN'S NOVEL "A Wrinkle in Time" appeared more than 50 years ago, some thought it had a genre disorder. Science fiction? Family story? Social satire? Spiritual allegory? The book, which went on to win a Newbery Medal, is all this and more. I consider it essentially a tender rescue myth, an Orpheus and Eurydice-type story repurposed to feature familial instead of romantic love and made startling by a bravely happy ending. A new Hollywood film version came out earlier this spring. The movie can neither increase nor erode the passion we aging children still feel for Meg Murray and the three weird guardians - Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which - who chaperone her through space and time via tesseract. (That's travel courtesy of the fifth dimension - though among other things, tessera means "four" in Greek, and the fourth dimension is time. I felt brainy when I was 12 and figured that out. It seems like just yesterday, and that's another kind of time travel.) I knew the book's author, Madeleine L'Engle, for nearly 30 years. She was loyal, generous, opinionated and comfortable in her stature as an elder. Privately I thought of her as Aunt Beast, from Chapter 11. So I turned with interest to "Becoming Madeleine," this middlegrade audio portrait of the quirky and beloved writer. One listens to "Becoming Madeleine" primarily for clues to how such a genrebuster of a fantasy novel could emerge in the early 1960s, and from this particular author. The two biographers and narrators are L'Engle's granddaughters. One presents the main narrative in gracious, unhurried prose delivered in level tones suited to a nature documentary voiceover; the other intersperses excerpts from L'Engle's vivid journals with greater gusto. The authors cover the first half of L'Engle's life. This includes Florida forebears, a Swiss boarding school education, Smith College, forays into the theater and fiction writing and then marriage and motherhood. The biography leads up to and includes the publication of "A Wrinkle in Time" in 1962. Here the story stops, and sensibly so; children love a triumph. Only scholars care to know what comes next. After "A Wrinkle in Time" brought L'Engle both glory and fame, she became well known as the librarian of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan. When she began to publish adult nonfiction that mentioned her faith, some readers weren't surprised. What is the secret weapon in "A Wrinkle in Time" but love, that most central of Christian virtues? Curiously, "Becoming Madeleine" avoids any mention of L'Engle's childhood piety - or lack thereof. Furthermore, the only children's books identified as having been cherished in her youth are, I believe, "Emily of New Moon" and "Swallows and Amazons." Both are robust stories of realism without a scrap of myth or an urge of magic about them. Whence, then, L'Engle's adroitness at fantasy or science fiction, call it what you will, with its reliance on enormous inventiveness, narrative panache and derring-do? Born in 1918, Madeleine L'Engle was of her times. Her letters to home and her journals are written with innocence, fervor and adolescent drama. But the story of how young Madeleine L'Engle Camp actually became Madeleine L'Engle, making the leap in one book from midcentury author of domestic dramas to high prophet of earnest confidence in humanity, filled with creative drive, spiritual enthusiasm - this remains something of a mystery. And why not? That a stubborn individual shaped by her times can write an accidental masterpiece that lives into the future is always a mystery. Perhaps even a kind of tesseract. ? GREGORY MAGUIRE is the author of "Wicked," "Egg & Spoon" and many other books.