E.L. Konigsburg, the author of From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and many other books, died earlier this week. She was 83 years old. Konigsburg won the Newbery Medal twice, for From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler in 1968, and again almost thirty years later for The View from Saturday, in 1997. There are a few other authors who have done that...but no one else but she has gotten a gold and a silver Newbery Medal in the same year. In 1968, along with the gold Newbery medal for From the Mixed-Up Files, she also got the silver runner-up Newbery medal for Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and me, Elizabeth. And they were her very first books published.
E.L. Konigsburg was one of my favorite authors when I was a kid. I never wrote her a fan letter though...at least, not until I was an adult. Five years ago, I served on the Newbery Committee to select that year's winner (this one!). It meant that for one year I had to read for hours every day, and I didn't get to choose my reading. I had to read A LOT of books I didn't like. When we finally finished, and I came home, I took a day off to do nothing but read exactly what I wanted. I chose From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. I read it all through the day, and through dinner, and way past my bedtime, and finished it around midnight. And THEN, I stayed up another hour to write E.L. Konigsburg the fan letter I never wrote her as a kid. I'm so glad I did. (And she wrote me back.)
Who is your favorite author? Have you ever written them a fan letter? Do it today! If they don't have a website with contact information, you can send an old-fashioned letter to them at the address for their publisher, and their publisher will forward it to them.
What is your favorite E.L. Konigsburg book? Which one are you going to try next?