1989 Notable Author

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Elizabeth Enright, 1909-1968

Elizabeth Enright was an illustrator of children's books, a writer of short stories for adults, a literary critic, and a creative writing teacher. She was born in Oak Park, Illinois but spent most of her adult life in New York City. She spent many summers, however, on her uncle Frank Lloyd Wright's farm in Spring Green, Wisconsin. During one of these visits to her uncle's farm she wrote Thimble Summer, a story set on a Wisconsin farm during a hot summer in the Great Depression. While using the events of the drought as the main focus of the story, she also incorporated stories that her mother and grandmother had told of their Wisconsin childhood.

Intending to become an artist, she studied at the Art Student League in New York from 1927-1928 and in Paris during 1928. Her first positions involved illustrating magazines. In 1930 she illustrated the children's book Kees by Marian King. She continued to illustrate books into the 1930's. In 1935 she began her career as an author by writing and illustrating her first children's book Kintu; A Congo Adventure. She soon received national recognition for her talent in 1939 when she was awarded the Newbery Award for her second book Thimble Summer.

Enright published twelve children's novels from 1935 to 1966. In addition, she wrote many adult short stories for the New Yorker, Ladies Home Journal, Cosmopolitan, Yale Review, Harper's Magazine, and the Saturday Evening Post. She reviewed children's literature for the New York Times and taught creative writing at Barnard College from 1960 to 1962. In 1966 Nasson College awarded her an honorary Doctor of Law degree. Elizabeth Enright died in her home in Wainscot, Long Island in 1968. She is buried near Spring Green in the Wyoming Valley region of Wisconsin.

Elizabeth Enright is recognized as an outstanding author of family stories and fantasy for children. Her beauty and clarity of language, the accuracy of her dialogue, her humor, and the appeal of her characterization and situations are memorable. Enright's resourceful, creative, adventurous characters have inquiring minds and are involved in music, art, and dance.

Enright's lasting contributions to both children's and adult literature have earned her a place on the list of Wisconsin Notable Authors.

Selected Writings:

Juvenile Fiction

Thimble Summer, Farrar & Rinehart, 1938 (Newbery Award)
The Saturdays, Farrar & Rinehart, 1941 (ALA Notable Book)
The Four-Story Mistake, Farrar & Rinehart, 1942
Then There were Five, Farrar & Rinehart, 1944
Spiderweb for Two, Farrar & Rinehart, 1951
Gone-away Lake, Harcourt, Brace & World, 1957 (Newbery Honor Award and ALA Notable Book)
Return to Gone-away, Harcourt, Brace & World, 1961
Tatsinda, Harcourt, Brace & World, 1963
Zeee, Harcourt, Brace & World, 1966

Collections of Short Stories for Adults

Borrowed Summer and Other Stories
, Rinehart, 1946
The Moment Before the Rain, Harcourt, Brace & World, 1955
The Riddle of the Fly and Other Stones, Harcourt, Brace & World, 1959
Double fields: Memories and Stories
, Harcourt, Brace & World, 1966