Quotes by: E. L. Konigsburg
|E. L. Konigsburg
February 10, 1930
Manhattan, New York, USA
||April 19, 2013
Falls Church, Virginia, USA
||B.A., Chemistry, 1952(?)
||Carnegie Institute of Technology
||Children's novels, short stories, picture books
• From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
• Father's Arcane Daughter
• The View From Saturday
||David Konigsburg (1952-2001; his death)
I was born in New York City. But my family moved when I was still an infant. Except for a year and half when we lived in Youngstown, Ohio, I grew up in small towns in Pennsylvania. I graduated from high school in Farrell, Pennsylvania.
I think most of us are outsiders. And I think that's good because it makes you question things.
Growing up in a small town gives you two things: a sense of place and a feeling of self-consciousness - self-consciousness about one's education and exposure, both of which tend to be limited. On the other hand, limited possibilities also mean creating your own options.
Readers let me know that they like books that have more to them than meets the eye. Had they not let me know that, I never would have written 'The View From Saturday.'
Characters are so important to a story that they actually decide where the story is going. When I write, I know my characters. I know how things are going to end, and I know some important incidents along the way.
Art comes from a visceral need and is usually generated by something I have seen; writing comes from something that happens in my head and my heart.
When I was in college at Carnegie Mellon, I wanted to be a chemist. So I became one. I worked in a laboratory and went to graduate school at the University of Pittsburgh. Then I taught science at a private girls' school. I had three children and waited until all three were in school before I started writing.
After I won the Newbery Medal for 'From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler,' children all over the world let me know that they liked books that take them to unusual places where they meet unusual people.
I was the first one in my family to go away to college. I came from a small town where there was no guidance in the high school at all. It was a mill town, and I never knew anyone who made their living from the arts. When you did go away to college, you went away to be something - an engineer, or a teacher, or a chemist.
I get ideas for my books from people I know and what happens to them, from places I've been and what happens to me, and from things I read.
When I began writing in the mid-1960s, I thought it was not important for readers to know whether I was male or female. Also, I was a great admirer of E.B. White, so I may have thought that it would bring me luck to submit my first manuscript as 'E.L.' But if I were starting out today, I would use my first name.
The essential problems remain the same... The kids I write about are asking for the same things I wanted. They want two contradictory things. They want to be the same as everyone else, and they want to be different from everyone else. They want acceptance for both.
I think it's important to experience kindness so that you can experience it more in the future. I believe that patterns of emotional behavior are set down before adolescence. And I think that if you have not observed kindness, you will not recognize it. You have to experience kindness in order to be kind.