TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

E.L. Konigsburg

E.L. Konigsburg

E. L. Konigsburg tells children, "Before you can be anything, you have to be yourself. That's the hardest thing to find." Konigsburg herself spent many years doing many things before she discovered that she wanted to be and could be a writer. Born Elaine Lobl in New York City, she was a good student, graduated first in her high school class, and was the first person in her family to attend college, where she earned a degree in chemistry. She had married and started working on a master's degree in chemistry when she began to realize that she "had the mind for chemistry, but not the temperament." When she and her husband moved to Florida, she began teaching science at a private girls' school.

Soon, however, Konigsburg realized she was "more interested in what was going on inside [my students] than what was going on inside the test tubes." She stopped teaching and stayed home to raise her three children. She also began to take drawing and painting classes. Some of her work won awards in competitions, and a number of her published books are illustrated with her own drawings.

As her children grew, Konigsburg felt a growing desire to write about their experiences and those of her former students, who were "softly comfortable on the outside and solidly uncomfortable on the inside." So write she did. Today, two Newbery Awards, more than 15 books, and millions of young fans later, she is still writing.