This article originally appeared in the June 8, 1979 issue of Christianity Today.
Madeleine L'Engle won the prestigious Newbery award "for the most distinguished contribution to American Literature for children" in 1963 for A Wrinkle in Time, her first fantasy novel. Since then she has written two others, A Wind in the Door, and her latest novel, published last fall by Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, A Swiftly Tilting Planet. The three books form a trilogy and, as she explains, contain much of her theology in story form. Although she is known as a fantasy writer for children, most of her books have been written in the realistic genre, many of them for adults. She has also written, among her twenty-six published books, several works of nonfiction. (The Summer of the Great-grandmother, for example, is a moving portrayal of the death of her own mother. Anyone who has lost a parent, or who is losing one, should read that book.) L'Engle serves as librarian and writer in residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. She lives with her husband, actor Hugh Franklin, in New York City. Many of her manuscripts and papers are housed in the Wade Collection, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois, where she is a frequent speaker. Editor at large Cheryl Forbes interviewed her last fall. The following is an edited version of the transcript.
When did you become a Christian?
Conversion for me was not a Damascus Road experience. I slowly moved into an intellectual acceptance of what my intuition had always known.
Possibly I was fortunate not to have had the usual formal religious background. My parents were Episcopalians, and so were theirs, and so on back. My father was ill during my childhood and young womanhood; he'd been gassed in the First World ...