WELLESLEY COLLEGE COMMENCEMENT, 1991
Author Madeleine L'Engle will speak at Wellesley
College's 113th commencement exercises on Friday, May 31.
Ceremonies will begin at 10:30 a.m. and will be located in
the Academic Quadrangle outside of Green Hall.
The author of over 28 books, including A Swiftly
Tilting Planet (1978 winner of the American Book Award),
L'Engle draws inspiration for her novels by reading the
great physicists and mathematicians. An amalgam of science
fiction, fantasy, and autobiography, her works tend to defy
traditional age categorizations. Before her first book,
The Small Rain, was published in 1945, her
manuscripts were routinely rejected by publishers unable to
envision a genre that would appeal to both young and adult
readers. "They said they didn't know who they were for," she
explained. "They asked whether they were for children or
adults -- and I said they were for people."
Born in 1918, L'Engle grew up in Switzerland, South
Carolina, New York City, and Massachusetts. She graduated
cum laude from Smith College in 1941 and then returned to
New York to embark on a career as actress and playwright.
After her marriage to fellow actor, Hugh Franklin, the
couple moved to western Connecticut and opened a general
store upon which her 1960 novel, Meet the Austins,
It was during the decade spent in rural Connecticut that
L'Engle first began reading Einstein and used the theory of
relativity as inspiration for her most well known book, A
Wrinkle in Time (1962). In 1978, Farrar, Straus &
Giroux published A Swiftly Tilting Planet, which,
together with A Wrinkle in Time and A Wind in the
Door, comprises the much praised fantasy, The Time
When asked how she expects her juvenile audience to
fathom such advanced concepts as quantum physics or cellular
biology (A Wind in the Door), L'Engle explains, "Adults
always assume that these things are much too difficult for
children to understand, but children don't know that science
is supposed to be difficult, so -- they don't have any
problems understanding it."
In response to increased student interest in her
writings, the Wellesley College Book Store has arranged for
L'Engle to sign copies of her books on Thursday, May 30 from
4:30 to 6 p.m. The book store is located in the Pendleton
Building, across from the Academic Quadrangle.
Madeleine L'Engle is speaking at Wellesley College's
commencement exercises at the invitation of the senior