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E. L. Konigsburg (1930-2013)

We were very sad to hear about the recent passing of E. L. Konigsburg. Konigsburg was the author of Newbery Award–winners From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and The View from Saturday, along with Jennifer, Hecate, MacBeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth, which won a Newbery Honor the same year as Mixed-Up Files won the Medal — an unprecedented (and unduplicated) feat.

She also wrote many other books — several of which were on the Horn Book’s Fanfare list — and was an illustrator. Above is her groovy cover for the May/June 2002 Horn Book Magazine. Also from our archive, you can read her Newbery acceptance speech for Mixed-Up Files, along with a profile written by her husband, David, for the occasion, and one written by Laurie Konigsburg Todd after her mother won the Newbery for The View from Saturday. We also had some fun with her during the 2012 election season. (Jamie Kincaid for Republican VP!)

Konigsburg never wrote down to her readers. Many of her characters are sophisticated, intelligent, witty, unique, and savvy. She wrote about wannabe-witches (Jennifer), restless suburban kids (Mixed-Up Files), Jewish boys playing baseball (About the B’nai Bagels), historical women (A Proud Taste for Scarlet and Miniver, The Second Mrs. Giaconda), possibly-con-artist women (Father’s Arcane Daughter), outcasts, smarty-pantses, heroes — the list goes on.

Roger, whose own thoughts about Konigsburg are here, was quoted in her New York Times obituary. He also remembers leaving his warm bed at 4 am because of one of her stories.

She was truly a star and a Great Lady in the field of children’s literature.

Elissa Gershowitz About Elissa Gershowitz

Elissa Gershowitz is executive editor of The Horn Book, Inc. She holds an MA from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College and a BA from Oberlin College.

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