FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) — E.L. Konigsburg, an author who twice won one of the top honors for children’s literature, has died. She was 83.
Her son Paul Konigsburg says the longtime Florida resident died Friday at a hospital in Falls Church, Va., where she’d been living for the past few years with another son. She had suffered a stroke a week before she died.
She won the John Newbery Medal in 1997 for her book “The View from Saturday” and in 1968 for “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.” The Newbery is one of the top honors for children’s literature. Her family says she wrote 16 children’s novels and illustrated 3 picture books.
Her first book, “Jennifer, Hecate, MacBeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth” was also a Newbery honor book in 1968, making her the only author to be a winner and runner-up in the same year.
In 1997, the Newbery committee called her story of a sixth grade Academic Bowl team and their coach “a unique, jubilant tour de force characterized by good humor, positive relationships, distinctive personalities and brilliant story telling.”
Konigsburg said in an interview with The Associated Press at the time: “The award represents a kind of validation that I find just most gratifying.”
In 2004, she told The Dallas Morning News that she built her characters and plots by imagining situations what-if situations with her children, grandchildren and students.
“I think most of us are outsiders,” she said. “And I think that’s good because it makes you question things. I think it makes you see things outside yourself.”
Her stories were also adapted for movies and television. Ingrid Bergman starred as Mrs. Frankweiler in a 1973 film adaptation of Konigsburg’s book called “The Hideaways.”
Konigsburg grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a degree in chemistry. She married David Konigsburg in 1952, and the couple lived in several cities before settling in the Jacksonville, Fla., area.
Konigsburg, who had two sons and a daughter and five grandchildren, started writing and illustrating children’s books when her youngest child began kindergarten. Her husband died in 2001.