Andre Norton

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(February 17, 1912 – March 17, 2005)

Andre Norton at the 13th World Fantasy Convention, 1987.

Andre Norton was the pename (and later, legal name) of Alice Mary Norton, an American pro writer. Over her career, she wrote more than 300 novels (including at least one title beginning with each letter of the alphabet) and many shorter works. She also used the bylines Andrew North (mainly in the 1950s for YA SF) and Allen Weston. She was called “the grande dame of science fiction.”

In an interview with Paul Walker in Luna Monthly 40 (September 1972), she commented on her pename:

When I entered the field I was writing for boys, and since women were not welcomed, I chose a pen name which could be either masculine or feminine. This is not true today, of course. But I still find vestiges of disparagement — mainly, oddly enough, among other writers. Most of them, however, do accept one on an equal basis. I find more prejudice against me as the writer of ‘young people’s’ stories now than against the fact that I am a woman.

She published her first novel in 1934 and worked as a librarian before becoming a full-time writer. After World War II, she began writing SF and became one of the key writers who introduced kids to SF in the 1950s (along with Robert A. Heinlein and the authors of the Winston Juveniles).

In the 1960s, she turned more to outright fantasy, beginning her popular Witch World series. She was a member of the Swordsmen and Sorcerers' Guild of America. She became somewhat of a recluse, rarely attending conventions. In later years, she moved to Tennessee, and established High Halleck, a research library and writers’ colony near her home.

Norton-focused clubs have included Circle of the Dales, Circle of the Dreamersrun, Circle of the Valley of Green Silences, Crystal Gryphon Circle, Forerunner Circle, Reethe Tower Circle and Unicorn Circle. The Norton Newsletter was a related fanzine.

Awards, Honors and GoHships:

Witch World[edit]

Witch World, an SF/fantasy project of Norton’s, was inaugurated by her 1963 novel Witch World and continued more than four decades. The Witch World setting is a planet in a parallel universe where magic long ago superseded science; early in the fictional history it is performed exclusively by women.

Beginning in the mid-1980s when she was in her 70s, Norton recruited many other writers to the project, and some books were published only after her death in 2005.

Person 19122005
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