Andre Norton

book cover

Born: February 17, 1912
Died: March 17, 2005

Ohio connection: Birth


Andre Norton was born Alice May Norton on February 17, 1912, in Cleveland, Ohio, to Freely Norton, a rug salesman, and Bertha Stemm Norton. She attended Collinwood High School where she wrote for the school newspaper. Intending to become a history teacher, she attended Western Reserve University but, due to the Depression, was forced to cut her formal education short, leaving the University during her freshman year. Taking a job at the Cleveland Public Library, she was assigned to the children’s book section. This experience, in addition to writing classes she was taking in the evenings, allowed her to become well versed with the written word. Though she had already written one book in high school, she began to write in earnest. She completed her first published novel, The Prince Commands, when she was just twenty years old. It was at this time that Norton changed her name from Alice Mary to Andre on the advice of her publishers who felt that her books would sell better if people thought they were written by a man. This first success was followed by many more juvenile adventure novels through the 1930s and 1940s. Norton continued her career as a librarian at the Cleveland Public Library, working in a number of the Library’s branches over the years, and taking brief breaks to work at the Library of Congress and to own a bookstore in Maryland. Norton decided to resign from the Cleveland Public Library in 1950 due to health problems. This did little to slow her down as, shortly after she left the Library, she became a reader at Gnome Press. She also continued to write, and, by the time she left Gnome in 1958, she had published 23 novels and a number of short stories. Norton was most recognized as an author of science fiction for young adults and was awarded the Gandalf Grand Master of Fantasy award as well as the Nebula Grand Master Award for lifetime achievement from the Science Fiction Writers of America. This was the first time a woman had earned either award. In 1966, she moved to Florida and later to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where she passed away at the age of 93 on March 17, 2005.

Award from Dutch government, 1946, for The Sword Is Drawn; Ohioana Juvenile Award honor book, 1950, for Sword in Sheath; Boys’ Clubs of America Medal, 1951, for Bullard of the Space Patrol; Hugo Award nominations, World Science Fiction Convention, 1962, for Star Hunter, 1964, for Witch World, and 1968, for Wizard’s World; Headliner Award, Theta Sigma Phi, 1963; Invisible Little Man Award, Westercon XVI, 1963, for sustained excellence in science fiction; Boys’ Clubs of America Certificate of Merit, 1965, for Night of Masks; Book of the Year award, Child Study Association, 1965, for Steel Magic; Phoenix Award, 1976, for overall achievement in science fiction; Gandalf Master of Fantasy Award, World Science Fiction Convention, 1977, for lifetime achievement; Scroll of Honour, Fantasy Gaming Hall of Fame, 1977; Andre Norton Award established, Women Writers of Science Fiction, 1978; Life Achievement Award, Orlando Science Fiction Society, 1978; Balrog Fantasy Award, 1979; Martha Kinney Cooper Ohioana Library Award, 1980, for body of work; named to Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame, 1981; Fritz Leiber Award, 1983, for work in the field of fantasy; E. E. Smith Award, 1983; Nebula Grand Master Award, Science Fiction Writers of America, 1984, for lifetime achievement; Jules Verne Award, 1984, for work in the field of science fiction; Daedalus Award, 1986, for lifetime achievement; Second Stage Lensman Award, 1987, for lifetime achievement; Howard Award, World Fantasy Convention, 1987; E. E. Evans Big Heart Award, 1988; Readers’ Award, Science Fiction Book Club, 1991, for The Elvenbane; Scientificon Award, Fandom Hall of Fame, 1994; Magic Carpet Con Award, 1997; named to Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Hall of Fame, 1996; Life Achievement Award, World Fantasy Convention, 1998.

Additional Resources

Wikipedia Article including numerous External Links

Andre Norton Correspondence (Cleveland Public Library Digital Gallery)