Andre Norton

Last updated

Andre Norton
BornAlice Mary Norton
(1912-02-17)February 17, 1912 [1]
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
DiedMarch 17, 2005(2005-03-17) (aged 93)
Murfreesboro, Tennessee, U.S.
Pen nameAndre Norton
Andrew North
Allen Weston
OccupationWriter, librarian
Genre Science fiction, fantasy, romance novels, adventure fiction
Notable awardsSFWA Grand Master, Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame

Andre Alice Norton (born Alice Mary Norton, February 17, 1912  March 17, 2005) was an American writer of science fiction and fantasy, who also wrote works of historical and contemporary fiction. She wrote primarily under the pen name Andre Norton, but also under Andrew North and Allen Weston. She was the first woman to be Gandalf Grand Master of Fantasy, [2] to be SFWA Grand Master, [3] and to be inducted by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. [4] [5] [6]


Biography and career


Alice Mary Norton was born in Cleveland, Ohio in 1912. [7] Her parents were Adalbert Freely Norton, who owned a rug company, and Bertha Stemm Norton. Alice began writing at Collinwood High School in Cleveland, under the tutelage of Sylvia Cochrane. She was the editor of a literary page in the school's paper, The Collinwood Spotlight, for which she wrote short stories. During this time, she wrote her first book, Ralestone Luck, which was eventually published as her second novel in 1938. [8]

After graduating from high school in 1930, Norton planned to become a teacher, and began studying at Flora Stone Mather College of Western Reserve University. However, in 1932 she had to leave because of the Depression and began working for the Cleveland Library System, [8] where she remained for 18 years, latterly in the children's section of the Nottingham Branch Library in Cleveland. In a 1996 interview she recalled defending acquisition of The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien for the library. [9] In 1934, she legally changed her name to Andre Alice Norton, a pen name she had adopted for her first book, published later that year, to increase her marketability, since boys were the main audience for fantasy. [8]

During 1940–1941, she worked as a special librarian in the cataloging department of the Library of Congress. [10] She was involved in a project related to alien citizenship which was abruptly terminated upon the American entry into World War II. In 1941 she bought a bookstore called Mystery House in Mount Rainier, Maryland, the eastern neighbor of Washington, D.C. The business failed, and she returned to the Cleveland Public Library until 1950, when she retired due to ill health. [11] She then began working as a reader for publisher-editor Martin Greenberg [lower-alpha 1] at Gnome Press, a small press in New York City that focused on science fiction. She remained until 1958, when, with 21 novels published, [12] [13] she became a full-time professional writer.

As Norton's health became uncertain, she moved to Winter Park, Florida in November 1966, where she remained until 1997. [14] She moved to Murfreesboro, Tennessee in 1997 and was under hospice care from February 21, 2005. She died at home on March 17, 2005, of congestive heart failure.

Literary career

In 1934, her first book, The Prince Commands, being sundry adventures of Michael Karl, sometime crown prince & pretender to the throne of Morvania, with illustrations by Kate Seredy, was published by D. Appleton–Century Company (cataloged by the U.S. Library of Congress as by "André Norton"). [15] [16] She went on to write several historical novels for the juvenile (now called "young adult") market.

Norton's first published science fiction was a short story, "The People of the Crater", which appeared under the name "Andrew North" as pages 4–18 of the inaugural 1947 number of Fantasy Book , a magazine from Fantasy Publishing Company, Inc. [17] Her first fantasy novel, Huon of the Horn, published by Harcourt Brace under her own name in 1951, adapted the 13th-century story of Huon, Duke of Bordeaux. [18] Her first science fiction novel, Star Man's Son, 2250 A.D., appeared from Harcourt in 1952. [19] She became a prolific novelist in the 1950s, with many of her books published for the juvenile market, at least in their original hardcover editions.

As of 1958, when she became a full-time professional writer, Kirkus had reviewed 16 of her novels, [lower-alpha 2] and awarded four of them starred reviews. [13] Her four starred reviews to 1957 had been awarded for three historical adventure novels—Follow the Drum (1942), Scarface (1948), Yankee Privateer (1955)—and one cold war adventure, At Swords' Points (1954). She received four starred reviews subsequently, latest in 1966, including three for science fiction. [13]

Norton was twice nominated for the Hugo Award, in 1964 for the novel Witch World and in 1967 for the novelette "Wizard's World". She was nominated three times for the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement, winning the award in 1998. Norton won a number of other genre awards and regularly had works appear in the Locus annual "best of year" polls. [4]

She was a founding member of the Swordsmen and Sorcerers' Guild of America (SAGA), a loose-knit group of heroic fantasy authors founded in the 1960s, led by Lin Carter, with entry by fantasy credentials alone. Norton was the only woman among the original eight members. Some works by SAGA members were published in Lin Carter's Flashing Swords! anthologies.

In 1976, Gary Gygax invited Norton to play Dungeons & Dragons in his Greyhawk world. Norton subsequently wrote Quag Keep , which involved a group of characters who travel from the real world to Greyhawk. It was the first novel to be set, at least partially, in the Greyhawk setting and, according to Alternative Worlds, the first to be based on D&D. [20] Quag Keep was excerpted in Issue 12 of The Dragon (February 1978) just prior to the book's release. [21] She and Jean Rabe were collaborating on the sequel to Quag Keep when Norton died. Return to Quag Keep was completed by Rabe and published by Tor Books in January 2006. [17]

Her final complete novel, Three Hands for Scorpio, was published on April 1, 2005. Besides Return to Quag Keep, Tor has published two more novels with Norton and Rabe credited as co-authors, Dragon Mage (November 2006) and Taste of Magic (January 2008). [17]


Norton wrote more than a dozen speculative fiction series, but her longest, and longest-running project was "Witch World", which began with the novel Witch World in 1963. The first six novels were Ace Books paperback originals published from 1963 to 1968. [17] From the 1970s most of the books in the series were first published in hardcover editions. [17] From the 1980s some were written by Norton and a co-author, and others were anthologies of short fiction for which she was editor. (Witch World became a shared universe.) [lower-alpha 3] There were dozens of books in all. [19]

The five novels of The Cycle of Oak, Yew, Ash, and Rowan, To the King a Daughter, Knight or Knave, A Crown Disowned, Dragon Blade, and The Knight of the Red Beard, were written with Sasha Miller. [22] The fifth and last novel was dedicated "To my late collaborator, Andre Norton, whose vision inspired the NordornLand cycle." [23] ("NordornLand cycle" is another name for this cycle.)


Often called the Grande Dame of Science Fiction and Fantasy by biographers such as J. M. Cornwell, [24] and organizations such as Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, [25] Publishers Weekly , [26] and Time , Andre Norton wrote novels for more than 70 years. She had a profound influence on the entire genre, having more than 300 published titles read by at least four generations of science fiction and fantasy readers and writers. Notable authors who cite her influence include Greg Bear, Lois McMaster Bujold, C. J. Cherryh, Cecilia Dart-Thornton, [27] Tanya Huff, [28] Mercedes Lackey, Charles de Lint, Joan D. Vinge, David Weber, K. D. Wentworth, and Catherine Asaro.

On February 20, 2005, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, which had honored Norton with its Grand Master Award in 1984, announced the creation of the Andre Norton Award, to be given each year for an outstanding work of fantasy or science fiction for the young adult literature market, beginning with 2005 publications. While the Norton Award is not a Nebula Award, it is voted on by SFWA members on the Nebula ballot and shares some procedures with the Nebula Awards. [29] [30] [31] Nominally for a young adult book, actually the eligible class is middle grade and young adult novels. This added a category for genre fiction to be recognized and supported for young readers. [32] Unlike Nebulas, there is a jury whose function is to expand the ballot beyond the six books with most nominations by members.

Norton received the Inkpot Award in 1989. [33]

High Hallack Library

The High Hallack Library was a facility that Norton was instrumental in organizing and opening. Designed as a research facility for genre writers, and scholars of "popular" literature (the genres of science fiction, fantasy, mystery, western, romance, gothic, and horror), it was located near Norton's home in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. [34]

The facility, named after one of the continents in Norton's Witch World series, was home to more than 10,000 texts, videos, and various other media. Attached to the facility were three guest rooms, allowing authors and scholars the chance to stay on-site to facilitate their research goals. [34]

The facility was opened on February 28, 1999, and operated until March 2004. Most of the collection was sold during the closing days of the facility. The declining health of Andre Norton was one of the leading causes of its closing. [34]

See also

Explanatory notes

  1. Martin Greenberg is no relation of Martin H. Greenberg (1941–2011) with whom Norton co-edited the Catfantastic series of five anthologies (DAW Books, 1989 to 1999).
  2. Kirkus reviewed only hardcover first editions; at the time, Norton had only recently published her first paperback original, The Crossroads of Time (Ace Double, 1956).
  3. Regarding The Duke's Ballad "by Andre Norton and Lyn McConchie", published in 2005, McConchie states "Witch World setting, marketed as by Andre Norton and Lyn McConchie, although all writing and revision done by Lyn using Andre's background." And she says much the same for all four of their Witch World novels (1995 to 2005).
      "Lyn's Books". Lyn McConchie. Last updated 2012-09-17. Retrieved 2013-05-02.

Cited references

  1. Andre M Norton, "United States Social Security Death Index". "United States Social Security Death Index", index, FamilySearch, March 17, 2005. Retrieved February 12, 2013. Citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File, database (Alexandria, Virginia: National Technical Information Service, ongoing).
  2. Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher (March 18, 2005). "Andre Norton Dies at 93; a Master of Science Fiction". The New York Times. ISSN   0362-4331 . Retrieved February 4, 2018.
  3. "SFWA Grand Master Award Listings 1984". SFWA Grand Master Award Listings 1984. Archived from the original on January 10, 2003.
  4. 1 2 "Norton, Andre". Locus Index to SF Awards: Index of Literary Nominees. Locus Publications . Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  5. "Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master". Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA). Archived from the original on July 1, 2011. Retrieved March 27, 2013.
  6. "Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on May 21, 2013.. Mid American Science Fiction and Fantasy Conventions, Inc. Retrieved March 27, 2013. This was the official website of the hall of fame to 2004.
  7. Bankston, John. Andre Norton. New York: Chelsea House, 2010, p. 16.
  8. 1 2 3 McLellan, Dennis (March 19, 2005). "Andre Norton, 93; A Prolific Science Fiction, Fantasy Author". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 25, 2022.
  9. Coker III, John (January 29, 1996). "TO Classic: Days of Wonder – A Conversation with Andre Norton". Tangent Online. Retrieved May 26, 2022.
  10. Bankston, John. Andre Norton. New York: Chelsea House, 2010, p. 50.
  11. Steve Holland (July 6, 2013). "Obituary: Andre Norton | Books". The Guardian. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  12. Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, "Andre Norton Dies at 93; a Master of Science Fiction", The New York Times, March 18, 2005. Retrieved October 26, 2009.
  13. 1 2 3 "Kirkus Book Reviews". Kirkus. Retrieved May 2, 2013.
  14. Maciej Zaleski-Ejgierd (February 17, 1912). "ANDRE NORTON ORG: Biography of Andre Norton". Archived from the original on February 23, 2013. Retrieved July 14, 2013.
  15. "Norton, Andre". Archived from the original on October 18, 2015.Library of Congress Authorities. Library of Congress. Retrieved March 28, 2013.
  16. The prince commands, being sundry adventures of Michael Karl, sometime ... LCCN   34003730. LCC record. Retrieved March 28, 2013.
  17. 1 2 3 4 5 Andre Norton at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB). Retrieved March 28, 2013.
  18. "Bibliography: Huon of the Horn". ISFDB. Retrieved March 28, 2013.
  19. 1 2 "Andre Norton (1912–2005)", Locus, April 2005, pp. 5, 65.
  20. Norton, Andre; Jean Rabe (2006). Return to Quag Keep. MacMillan. pp. Introduction. ISBN   0-7653-1298-0.
  21. Norton, Andre (February 1978). "Quag's Keep (excerpts)". The Dragon. Lake Geneva WI: TSR (12): 22–30.
  22. Andre Norton and Sasha Miller (2008), The Knight of the Red Beard, 2009 reprint, New York: Tor, p. [2].
  23. Andre Norton and Sasha Miller (2008), The Knight of the Red Beard, 2009 reprint, New York: Tor, p. [7].
  24. "An Interview with Andre Norton". Retrieved December 22, 2011.
  25. "SFWA Biography". Archived from the original on October 9, 2009.
  26. Andre Norton (2002). Fiction Book Review: Warlock . Author Baen Books. ISBN   978-0-671-31849-9 . Retrieved October 18, 2015.{{cite book}}: |website= ignored (help)
  27. "Interview with Cecilia Dart-Thornton". Future Fiction. August 2001. Archived from the original on January 6, 2013. Other authors who have influenced and inspired me (in no particular order), include Nicholas Stuart Gray, George McDonald, Andre Norton ...
  28. Switzer, David M; Schellenberg, James (October 1998). "Wizards, Vampires & a Cat: From the Imagination of Tanya Huff". Challenging Destiny. Crystalline Sphere Publishing (4). I'd have to say the two general influences are Andre Norton for an incredibly varied body of work that can be read and enjoyed by both adults and twelve year olds ...
  29. "2012 Nebula Awards Nominees Announced" (finalists). SFWA. Retrieved April 27, 2013.
  30. "Norton Award Blog Tour". SFWA. Retrieved 2013-04-27.
    The Blog Tour preface (linked) incorporates a pertinent excerpt from the Nebula Awards rules.
  31. "About the Nebula Awards". Locus Index to SF Awards: About the Awards. Locus Publications. Retrieved March 27, 2013.
  32. Paulson, Kristin Leigh (2011). Overcoming the Stigma of Science Fiction and Fantasy in the Classroom: An Overview of the Andre Norton Award (MA thesis). University of Florida. OCLC   814394295.
  33. "Inkpot Award". Comic-Con International: San Diego. December 6, 2012. Retrieved March 11, 2023.
  34. 1 2 3 "High Hallack Genre Writers' Research and Reference Library". Archived from the original on July 3, 2013., Retrieved May 31, 2013.

General sources

Digital collections

Institutional collections

Other information

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association</span> Nonprofit organization

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, doing business as Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association, commonly known as SFWA is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization of professional science fiction and fantasy writers. While SFWA is based in the United States, its membership is open to writers worldwide. The organization was founded in 1965 by Damon Knight under the name Science Fiction Writers of America. The president of SFWA as of July 1, 2021 is Jeffe Kennedy.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mercedes Lackey</span> American writer of fantasy novels

Mercedes Ritchie Lackey is an American writer of fantasy novels. Many of her novels and trilogies are interlinked and set in the world of Velgarth, mostly in and around the country of Valdemar. Her Valdemar novels include interaction between human and non-human protagonists with many different cultures and social mores.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Gene Wolfe</span> American SF and fantasy writer (1931–2019)

Gene Rodman Wolfe was an American science fiction and fantasy writer. He was noted for his dense, allusive prose as well as the strong influence of his Catholic faith. He was a prolific short story writer and novelist, and won many literary awards. Wolfe has been called "the Melville of science fiction", and was honored as a Grand Master by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.

The Damon Knight Memorial Grand Master Award is a lifetime honor presented annually by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA) to no more than one living writer of fantasy or science fiction. It was first awarded in 1975, to Robert Heinlein, and was renamed in 2002 for Damon Knight, the Association's founder, who had died that year.

Martin Harry Greenberg was an American academic and anthologist in many genres, including mysteries and horror, but especially in speculative fiction. In all, he compiled 1,298 anthologies and commissioned over 8,200 original short stories. He founded Tekno Books, a packager of more than 2000 published books. He was also a co-founder of the Sci-Fi Channel. Greenberg was also an expert in terrorism and the Middle East. He was a longtime friend, colleague and business partner of Isaac Asimov.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Martha Wells</span> American speculative fiction writer (born 1964)

Martha Wells is an American writer of speculative fiction. She has published a number of fantasy novels, young adult novels, media tie-ins, short stories, and nonfiction essays on fantasy and science fiction subjects. Her novels have been translated into twelve languages. Wells has won four Hugo Awards, two Nebula Awards and three Locus Awards for her science fiction series The Murderbot Diaries. She is also known for her fantasy series Ile-Rien and The Books of the Raksura. Wells is praised for the complex, realistically detailed societies she creates; this is often credited to her academic background in anthropology.

Jean Rabe is an American journalist, editor, gamer and writer of fantasy and mystery. After a career as a newspaper reporter, she was employed by TSR, Inc. for several years as head of the Role Playing Game Association and editor of the Polyhedron magazine. Rabe began a career as a novelist for TSR and Wizards of the Coast, and over the last 30 years has produced over three dozen books and scores of short stories, at first in the genres of game-related fantasy and science fiction and later as an author of mystery novels.

Catherynne M. Valente is an American fiction writer, poet, and literary critic. For her speculative fiction novels she has won the annual James Tiptree, Andre Norton, and Mythopoeic Fantasy awards. Her short fiction has appeared in Clarkesworld Magazine, the World Fantasy Award–winning anthologies Salon Fantastique and Paper Cities, along with numerous "Year's Best" volumes. Her critical work has appeared in the International Journal of the Humanities as well as in numerous essay collections.

<i>The Beast Master</i> 1959 novel by Andre Norton

The Beast Master is a science fiction novel by American writer Andre Norton, published by Harcourt in 1959. It inaugurated the Beast Master series, or Hosteen Storm series after the main character. In German-language translation it was published as Der Letzte der Navajos —literally, The Last of the Navajo.

These works were written or edited by the American fiction writer Andre Norton. Before 1960 she used the pen name Andrew North several times and, jointly with Grace Allen Hogarth, Allen Weston once.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Andre Norton Award</span> Science fiction and fantasy literary award

The Andre Norton Nebula Award for Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction is an annual award presented by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA) to the author of the best young adult or middle grade science fiction or fantasy book published in the United States in the preceding year. It is named to honor prolific science fiction and fantasy author Andre Norton (1912–2005), and it was established by then SFWA president Catherine Asaro and the SFWA Young Adult Fiction committee and announced on February 20, 2005. Any published young adult or middle grade science fiction or fantasy novel is eligible for the prize, including graphic novels. There is no limit on word count. The award was originally not a Nebula Award, despite being presented along with them and following the same rules for nominations and voting, but in 2019 SFWA announced that the award was considered a Nebula category.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mary Robinette Kowal</span> American author and puppeteer (born 1969)

Mary Robinette Kowal is an American author and puppeteer. Originally a puppeteer by primary trade after receiving a bachelor's degree in art education, she became art director for science fiction magazines and by 2010 was also authoring her first full-length published novels. The majority of her work is characterized by science fiction themes, such as interplanetary travel; a common element present in many of her novels is historical or alternate history fantasy, such as in her Glamourist Histories and Lady Astronaut books.

Lyn McConchie is a New Zealand writer of speculative fiction, picture books for children, a nonfiction humour series, a number of standalone books and many short stories, articles, poems, opinion pieces, and reviews.

<i>Return to Quag Keep</i>

Return to Quag Keep, a 2006 fantasy novel by Andre Norton and Jean Rabe, is a sequel to the fantasy novel Quag Keep written by Norton in 1978. Although Norton and Rabe began their collaboration in the early 2000s, Norton's death in 2005 meant that Rabe had to complete the novel on her own. Many critics were not impressed with the finished work.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nebula Award</span> Literature prize for science fiction and fantasy works from the United States

The Nebula Awards annually recognize the best works of science fiction or fantasy published in the United States. The awards are organized and awarded by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association (SFWA), a nonprofit association of professional science fiction and fantasy writers. They were first given in 1966 at a ceremony created for the awards, and are given in four categories for different lengths of literary works. A fifth category for film and television episode scripts was given 1974–78 and 2000–09, and a sixth category for game writing was begun in 2018. In 2019 SFWA announced that two awards that were previously run under the same rules but not considered Nebula awards—the Andre Norton Award for Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction and the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation—were to be considered official Nebula awards. The rules governing the Nebula Awards have changed several times during the awards' history, most recently in 2010. The SFWA Nebula Conference, at which the awards are announced and presented, is held each spring in the United States. Locations vary from year to year.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">N. K. Jemisin</span> American science fiction and fantasy writer

Nora Keita Jemisin is an American science fiction and fantasy writer. Her fiction includes a wide range of themes, notably cultural conflict and oppression. Her debut novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and the subsequent books in her Inheritance Trilogy received critical acclaim. She has won several awards for her work, including the Locus Award. The three books of her Broken Earth series made her the first author to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel in three consecutive years, as well as the first to win for all three novels in a trilogy. She won a fourth Hugo Award, for Best Novelette, in 2020 for Emergency Skin. Jemisin was a recipient of the MacArthur Fellows Program Genius Grant in 2020.

Yoon Ha Lee is an American science fiction and fantasy writer, known for his Machineries of Empire space opera novels and his short fiction. His first novel, Ninefox Gambit, received the 2017 Locus Award for Best First Novel.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Fran Wilde (author)</span> American novelist

Fran Wilde is an American science fiction and fantasy writer and blogger. Her debut novel, Updraft, was nominated for the 2016 Nebula Award, and won the 2016 Andre Norton Award and the 2016 Compton Crook Award. Her debut middle grade novel, Riverland, won the 2019 Andre Norton Award, was named an NPR Best Book of 2019 and was a Lodestar Finalist. Wilde is the first person to win two Andre Norton Awards for Middle Grade and Young Adult Fiction. Her short fiction has appeared in Asimov's Science Fiction, Nature,, Uncanny Magazine, and elsewhere. Her fiction explores themes of social class, disability, disruptive technology, and empowerment against a backdrop of engineering and artisan culture.

Fonda Lee is a Canadian-American author of speculative fiction. She is best known for writing The Green Bone Saga, the first of which, Jade City, won the 2018 World Fantasy Award and was named one of the 100 Best Fantasy Books of All Time by Time magazine. The Green Bone Saga was also included on NPR's list, "50 Favorite Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books of the Past Decade".

<i>Quag Keep</i> 1978 fantasy novel by Andre Norton

Quag Keep is a fantasy novel by Andre Norton published in 1978. Written after Norton had participated in a session of Dungeons & Dragons with Gary Gygax, it was the first novel to be set in Gygax's World of Greyhawk, and the first to be based on the game of D&D.