Ava DuVernay’s adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time hit theaters yesterday, and while the film hasn’t gotten the best of reviews, it’s a classic novel that’s been inspiring readers in the 56 years since it was released. A couple of years ago, British publisher Folio Society published its own edition, complete with original artwork from Sam Richwood and an introduction from author Meg Rosoff.
Like the other editions that the publisher has produced over the years, its edition of A Wrinkle in Time is a beautiful volume, in part due to Richwood’s artwork. He tells The Verge that he found the book to be a charming “story of good overcoming evil, executed in a weird and wonderful way.”
A Wrinkle in Time was first published in 1962, and follows the adventures of a young girl named Meg Murray, who sets off with her brother, a friend, and three witches to find her missing father, who traveled across the universe. The book elegantly blends concepts like quantum physics, science fiction, and fantasy.
When it came to approaching the artwork for the Folio edition, Richwood says that he had to restrain himself: “The scenes in the book are so open and vast that I had to remind myself of the final size that the illustrations would be.” He says that he ultimately decided to “focus in on the characters and let them tell the story.”
In her introduction to the novel, Rosoff explains that L’Engle’s story was rejected by more than 20 publishers. It was “too odd, too unruly, too difficult to pigeonhole, too full of ideas, too scratch, too ahead of its time. Too different.” She tells The Verge that it’s L’Engle’s respect for the intellect of her younger readers that has led to the novel’s long-lasting appeal: “There’s a current theory in publishing that you need to talk to teens about their day-to-day experience — school, bullying, relationships, drugs,” she says. But children often aren’t just preoccupied with what’s before them. “L’Engle understood that many children are grappling with far bigger questions: Who am I? Why am I here? What do I believe in? What sort of person will I be?”
These are all questions that the book explores, and even more than half a century later, the novel still finds traction with young readers today. Rosoff notes that the book is a particularly vocal opponent of conformity, and deals with concepts that stem from that mindset, like “how it feels to be an outsider, how to think about the universe, how to recognize and fight evil,” all while encouraging readers to confront difficult ideas.