Andre Norton is an extremely popular science fiction and fantasy author who has never received much critical attention. One reason may be that the majority of her work is written for (or marketed toward) children and young adults, markets which traditionally receive little "serious" coverage. Born in 1912 as Alice Mary, Norton went to work in the Cleveland Public Library system when she was 18, mainly in the children's section. After 11 years, she left to open a mystery bookstore, however, after a year she was back working at the library, where she remained for another nine years, until 1952. During this second stint at the library, she began to write and publish science fiction short stories, sometimes under the name Andrew North, although she had published non-genre stories as early as 1934. In 1952, her first novel, STAR MAN'S SON. 2250 A.D., was published under her own name. Returning to the "Andrew North" name, Norton then published the first three books in her first series, the Solar Queen cycle--the last three installments of which were written in the 1990s after a more than 20-year break. A prolific writer, Norton had written 19 books before she began what was to be her most well-known series: 1963s WITCH WORLD'S. As important as this book, and its sequels, were to thousands of readers, it was not until she was awarded Grand Master status from the World Fantasy Convention in 1987 that Norton received any major recognition from the science fiction community. One of her favorite themes, that of the need for cooperation between men and women, has set a benchmark for a genre that is all too often male-oriented to a fault. After more than 100 genre novels (and many non-genre ones), Norton's novels continue to bring this important notion to readers, whether they are children or adults.
Andre Norton was an extremely popular and prolific science fiction and fantasy author whose writing career spanned seven decades. Born in 1912 as Alice Mary Norton, she began working as a librarian when she was 18, and continued that career for 20 years, interrupted by a brief period working for the Library of Congress and then operating a mystery bookstore. Norton's writing career initially focused on historical and adventure fiction for juveniles; her first novel, THE PRINCE COMMANDS, was published in 1934. In that year, she legally changed her name to Andre, having been advised that a male-sounding name would be more appealing to her audience, which was presumed to be entirely male. 1952 saw the publication of her first science fiction novel, STAR MAN'S SON, 2250 A.D.(later retitled DAYBREAK: 2250 A.D.) Her first series was the Solar Queen cycle, the last three installments of which were written in the 1990s after a more than 20-year break. In 1963, she launched her most famous series, Witch World, with the novel of the same name; more than 30 sequels followed. Norton did not receive critical acclaim from her peers in the science fiction community until quite late in life, probably because her work was primarily marketed toward children and young adults. However, she was the first woman to win each of two prestigious awards for lifetime achievement: the Gandalf Grand Master, awarded by the World Science Fiction Society in 1977, and Grand Master, given to her by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) in 1983. In February, 2005, SFWA created a new award in her honor, the Andre Norton Award, to be presented to an outstanding fantasy or science fiction novel for young adults. Norton wrote or collaborated on over 100 genre novels (and many non-genre ones). She continued to write until nearly the end of her life, receiving a publisher's copy of her final solo-authored book, THREE HANDS FOR SCORPIO, just days before she died on March 16, 2005, in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.