A year-long celebration of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time kicks off in January, when Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group releases 50th anniversary editions of the novel: a Farrar, Straus and Giroux hardcover, a Square Fish paperback, and an e-book version. Another e-book, due next May, collects L’Engle’s celebrated essay, “Do I Dare Disturb the Universe?,” and additional “Madeleineia.” And fall 2012 publications include the first A Wrinkle in Time graphic novel, created by Hope Larson, from FSG; and Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L’Engle in Many Voices by Leonard Marcus, an FSG adult title.
The 50th anniversary editions include new additional content, including an introduction by Katherine Paterson, an afterword by L’Engle’s granddaughter, Charlotte Voiklis, and previously unpublished photos.
“The books contain a lot of rich material that hasn’t been seen before,” says Simon Boughton, publisher of Farrar, Straus & Giroux Books for Young Readers. “Madeleine’s heirs have recently started to catalogue and organize a trove of material, and the anniversary is a great opportunity to make it available. This is material that definitely adds interest to the novel and speaks to why it has lasted.” The hardcover and paperback anniversary editions have first printings of 40,000 and 100,000 copies, respectively.
Calling A Wrinkle in Time, which has 10 million copies in print in the U.S. alone, “a seminal book that established a certain kind of fantasy as a model for young readers,” Boughton notes that the book “is among the very most important books we’ve published and is consistently among our bestselling titles.” In addition to the new anniversary editions, the publisher is releasing the classic in two new formats in October 2012: A Wrinkle in Time Trilogy, a trade paperback bind-up of the original novel, A Wind in the Door, and A Swiftly Tilting Planet; and A Wrinkle in Time Quintet Collector’s Edition, which presents all five ‘Time’ novels in a slipcase.
A Marketing Plan Takes Flight
Macmillan has set an extensive marketing campaign in motion to commemorate the Newbery winning novel’s five-decade milestone. Pre-anniversary, buzz-building promotion includes multiple online components. A brand new Web site touts the 50th anniversary and lists scheduled live tie-in events; and a dedicated A Wrinkle in Time Facebook fan page currently has more than 111,200 fans and over 7500 wall posts and comments. “It is a really active community,” says publicity director Allison Verost. “Readers are engaging one another and talking about what they love about the novel, and how they’ve shared it with their own children. It really shows how the book has touched people throughout the years.”
Other online initiatives are “The Madeleine L’Engle Re-Read” section of Tor.com, a social community of fans of science fiction and fantasy, which will run through February and includes two weekly blog posts by the editors as well as discussions about L’Engle. This venture will culminate with a week-long celebration (from February 12-18) that will feature an in-depth look at L’Engle’s life and work, additional blog posts, and giveaways of copies of A Wrinkle in Time.
A highlight of the publisher’s anniversary salute is a February 11 event at Symphony Space in New York, which will feature appearances by Voiklis, Marcus, Larson, Lois Lowry, Rebecca Stead, and others. The publisher has arranged for the event to be livestreamed online and has created event kits to encourage booksellers to hold in-store anniversary celebrations to share the simulcast with customers. A 12-copy floor display is also available to retailers. The livestreamed event will be available for schools and libraries to download in March.
Spring anniversary-related events include A Wrinkle in Time celebration at the Texas Library Association’s conference in April. The publisher has also initiated an anniversary partnership with First Book, which will create a dedicated edition of A Wrinkle in Time to make available to programs and schools serving children in need. Macmillan will also feature the new anniversary editions at its booth and offer promotional giveaways at industry conventions during 2012.
“This has been a really fun campaign to pull together,” Verost says. “It has involved so many different groups in-house, including school and library, publicity, marketing, and sales. This anniversary gives us an incredible opportunity to reintroduce this beloved classic to a new generation of readers, and remind fans how magical and groundbreaking A Wrinkle in Time truly is.”
A Wrinkle in Time 50th Anniversary Commemorative Hardcover by Madeleine L’Engle. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $24.99 Jan. ISBN 978-0-374-38616-0
A Wrinkle in Time 50th Anniversary Trade Paperback by Madeleine L’Engle, $9.99 Jan. ISBN 978-1-250-00467-3