Entertainment & Arts

EL Konigsburg: celebrated children's author dies at 83

Award-winning author and illustrator EL Konigsburg has died at the age of 83.

Konigsburg, who was born in New York but grew up in Pennsylvania, won the prestigious John Newbery Medal twice.

Her first win came in 1968 for From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler, a tale about a girl who runs away with her brother to a museum.

She was honoured again in 1997 for The View From Saturday about the friendship formed between four pupils who enter a school academic competition.

Shortly afterwards, Konigsburg said in an interview with The Associated Press: "The award represents a kind of validation that I find most gratifying."

Her son Paul Konigsburg said she died on Friday at a hospital in Virginia. She had suffered a stroke a week before she died.

Her first book, Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth, was given a special Newbery honour the same year she won her first Newbery medal, making her the only author to win two Newbery prizes in the same year.

The Newbery is one of the world's top honours for children's literature and is considered to be the US equivalent of the British Carnegie Medal.

Science teacher

In 1990, Konigsburg won the Phoenix award for her novel Throwing Shadows, a prize given annually by the US Children's Literature Association for one English-language children's book published twenty years earlier that did not win a major literary award at the time.

Konigsburg's works have also had an influence on popular culture.

A scene in Wes Anderson's cult film The Royal Tenenbaums, where two of the characters run away to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, was inspired by From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler.

And Ingrid Bergman starred as Mrs Frankweiler in a 1973 film adaptation of Konigsburg's book The Hideaways.

According to her family, Konigsburg wrote 16 children's novels and illustrated three picture books.

After completing her degree at Carnegie Mellon University, Konigsburg did graduate work in organic chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh. For several years, she taught science at a private girls' school. When the third of her three children started nursery, she began to write.

Earlier this month, her publisher announced that the EL Konigsburg Newbery Collection is to be published later this year.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites